Car Flips on Displaced Manhole Covering, Killing a Woman in Richmond, Virginia (VA) | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Most people in Virginia (VA) drive to get to work or run daily errands not expecting to die because of road defects.  While making that commute or riding in the car, individuals trust that the roads are safe for both them and their families.  However, unforeseeable dangers may exist on the roadways that could catch travelers by surprise.

According to an article in Virginia Lawyers Weekly, a recent case of a wrongful death due to a car accident resulted in a 1.2 million dollar settlement.  The victim, a Richmond native, was on her way to work when she hit a faulty manhole cover.  Upon the impact, the lid tilted, becoming stuck between the car and the street, and flipped the vehicle.  The victim died as a result of the crash.

About four months prior to the accident, the road had been repaved by the city and its road contractor. Although the lid of the manhole was to be reset to match the newly paved asphalt, upon investigation, police observed some adjustment concerns had been overlooked.  According to the defense lawyers, the ring of the manhole was not adjusted after the new pavement was put down but it was impossible for the manhole device to rotate as it did on the support.  The at-fault municipality’s mechanical engineer argued that someone must have tampered with the manhole just before the victim drove over it, causing it to tilt.  The plaintiff, on the other hand, argued that the city did not appropriately monitor and make adjustments to the manhole after the road was newly paved.  

Congratulations to Virginia Beach attorneys, Joe Perez and Steve Swain, on this win.