Tort Liability: A Handbook for Employees of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia Municipal Corporations

Report No: 03-TAR2

Published in 2003

About the report:

Transportation agencies and their employees have always been concerned with providing safe roadways for the public. In recent years, the concern for safety has expanded to include concerns about the high cost of suits brought by those who have suffered injury or property damage due to the negligence of the state or its employees. With the recent court rulings concerning state government liability and the publicity of large damage awards, the issue of tort liability has become a significant concern of governments and their employees. Although the field of tort law has a solid foundation with its own terminology, it is in constant flux. To understand the concept of tort liability completely, one must first understand the terminology and the basic structure of a tort case from the initial injury through the final disposition of the case. This handbook is intended to serve as a guide to these basic, yet important, concepts of tort liability. Although most work situations present clear-cut indications of what are and are not possible torts, in many cases employees can rightfully question the potential tort implications of their actions. This handbook presents a broad outline of what constitutes a tort and identifies specific instances that may lead to legal liability. This handbook is not a definitive legal guide to the ins and outs of tort liability in the Commonwealth. Rather, it aspires to arm the employees of VDOT and of Virginia's municipal corporations with sufficient information to allow them to make informed and considered decisions in contexts that could lead to a tort claim against their employer or themselves.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Jennifer C. Eilers, Katherine J. Peters

Last updated: December 3, 2023

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