What We LearnWhen We Lose LAWSUITS LAWSUITS
How Do You put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. • This questions tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
How Do You put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. • This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.
The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend. . . except one. Which animal does not attend?
The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. • This tests your memory.
There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?
You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. • This tests whether you listen, or whether you jump to assumptions.
K-74 in Atchison County • Late April around 9:30 p.m. • One vehicle accident • In the car is the driver, and five passengers, ages 2, 14, 15, 16, and 17. • The car fails to negotiate a curve and hits a tree. • The driver and 14 year old passenger are killed. • All other passengers are life-flighted from the scene. • KDOT is sued by the 2 year old, the 14 year old the 15 year old, the 16 year old, and the 17 year old. • No claim is made for the death of the driver.
Video logs show that the road was signed like this by at least 1997. A video log dated 1994 shows three object markers. There is no evidence that the curve ever had a large arrow or chevrons.
Lessons to be Learned • Drive the roads like you have never driven them before. How would this look to a person unfamiliar with the road traveling it at night? • If you change the traffic control, ask yourself, “How does this change affect other traffic control in the area?”
US-24 in Pottawatomie County • US-24 is four lane divided highway • All four lanes of US-24 just recently opened • The EB lanes of US-24 need some further work on the passing lane edge line. • EB passing lane is closed. • Plaintiff is a passenger traveling SB on a county road. Plaintiff’s vehicle is struck while crossing the EB lanes on US-24. • Accident occurs in September 98. Daytime. Bright and sunny.
Lessons to be Learned • Projects will encounter needs for traffic control that were not expected. Try to anticipate what situations are going to arise. • Know what different traffic control devices mean and use the correct ones. • If you don’t know how to handle a situation, call someone who does.
US-59 in Jefferson County • Late August, 1:00 p.m., bright and sunny day. • Project is crack repair preparing the surface for an overlay. • 2 lane roadway. • Flagman operation. • Stopped at the flagman is a white dodge carrying mom and 1 year old son. • Second vehicle in line is a red Ford carrying mom, dad, 2 year old son and 3 year old daughter.
Lessons to be Learned • More signs are not always best. • Especially when those signs are wrong. • Pay attention to the “little things” like flags. • Pay attention to your traffic control plans – everyday.
US-24 in Pottawatomie County • US-24 is under construction. The project is changing the road from two lane to four lane. • Accident occurred in early November, 1997. • Plaintiff is traveling SB on a rural road. • Semi is traveling EB on US-24.
Lessons to be Learned • Check your traffic control – everyday and every time you travel through a project. • Remember you may have traffic control in locations where no work is going on. • Know what the traffic control layout is suppose to be.
US-77 bypass around Arkansas City • October 31, November 1, and 2. • Number injured – 100’s • Number suing KDOT – 16 property owners • The claim is that the construction of the bypass resulted in flooding. • Flood was between the 75 and 100 year level. • All property owners, except one, had no protection prior to the construction of the bypass/levee.
Lessons to be Learned • Write what you mean. Whether it be in letters, minutes to meetings, diaries, etc. • Letters, minutes to meetings, diaries, etc. are not forms. What you write may have to be explained by you someday.
US-69 in Miami County • Man, his wife and adult daughter are traveling southbound when they strike a cow in the roadway. • The mother is killed. The daughter is injured to the point where working is difficult. The husband suffers minor injuries. • KDOT is sued because there is one broken fence post in the right of way fence. • The allegation is that the cow got onto the road through the broken fence post.