Highway Construction Defects and Unsafe Pavement Edge Drop-offs

Video: Car Accidents Caused by Defective Roads

Highway shoulders are intended to provide a safe place for stopped vehicles and emergency use; yet, they can be extremely dangerous and cause drivers to go off the road if not maintained properly. In fact, crashes related to highway shoulder defects, such as unsafe pavement edge drop-offs, injure about 11,000 people and kill about 160 motorists annually.

Pavement edge drop-offs form between a paved travel lane and shoulder or between two paved travel lanes due to improper road maintenance, erosion or excessive wear. The height difference between the two surfaces often results in accidents where the vehicle leaves the roadway and the driver loses control when trying to return to the travel lane, causing the vehicle to fishtail or cross the centerline and collide with oncoming traffic. Other issues that routinely come up in highway shoulder defect cases include:

  • Inadequate pavement edge markings.
  • Inadequate signage to warn drivers of an unsafe pavement edge drop-off.

A Law Firm That Wins Highway Construction Cases

Langdon & Emison has a proven track record of handling – and winning – highway shoulder defect cases. Below is one example of a case our firm won on behalf of a client who was catastrophically injured in an accident involving an unsafe pavement edge drop-off.

Case Example: Rittel v. Confidential Defendant, Confidential Settlement

Langdon & Emison resolved a complex personal injury case involving an auto accident in Missouri that was caused by unsafe highway construction practices. In this case, the driver’s right front tire dropped off a 4-inch asphalt ledge, which had been left by the defendant during the process of resurfacing the highway.

As a result, our client lost control of her vehicle and swerved into the opposite lane of traffic, which was still under construction and was about 1-inch lower in height than our client’s original travel lane. When our client tried to correct the vehicle to return to her lane of traffic, she lost control and the vehicle overturned two times before coming to a rest on its right side in the grass. Our client sustained severe and permanent injuries that ultimately rendered her quadriplegic.

Relevant Publications



Contact the trial attorneys who win: Langdon & Emison

To refer a highway shoulder defect case to our firm or for a free case evaluation, contact Langdon & Emison at 1-800-397-4910 or complete the online form. We will be pleased to review your case at no cost or obligation to you.