TE-56 Meeting the Challenges of Transportation Liability and Risk Management (online)

Class Information

Instructor Information

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CEUs: 0.40


This course grants 0.8 CEUs and 4.0 AICP CMs. (AICP CMs pending approval)


A major and continuing need of highway and transportation departments involves assembling, analyzing, and evaluating operating practices, administrative procedures, and legal issues associated with highway and transportation projects. Individual state legal experiences need to be compared and made available for possible wider application. Research to identify and evaluate legal options and how this facilitates the handling of both immediate and long-range needs of engineering, planning, and administrative aspects of transportation programs will be discussed.

The intent of the webinar is to improve public agency practices to improve their defense and reduce future claims. The course is aimed at public works design, operations, and maintenance staff. It may be of some limited value to attorneys who do not have experience in this field, but it is not designed or intended for attorneys.

Public agency staff members should be aware of certain design elements that frequently expose cities to liability, or create unnecessary risk. The webinar will cover design or traffic control device usage or operational/maintenance issues that frequently are overlooked or ignored, and end up causing problems. This webinar will also focus on tort liability litigation practices and cases involving the exercise of discretion in design and try to provide a framework for determining successful strategies employed when dealing with design decisions, especially when made following the principles of context sensitive solutions. The most recent sources of information will be identified participants can obtain additional information on a variety of topics. Although the cases discussed will involve lawsuits resulting from highway design, the information provided will help civil engineers involved as witnesses in various types of litigation.

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Webinar Topics

The webinar will try to help participants to understand the concepts of design negligence and how to avoid it, and design immunity, and how to document design decisions and operational procedures to allow agencies to utilize design immunity as viable defense strategy. The webinar will explain liability concepts applicable in California including Claims against Public agencies, Joint and Several Liability, Dangerous and Defective Conditions, and Design Immunity Defense.

The webinar will cover the basics of document production, responding to Notice to Produce, Special Interrogatories, Request for Admissions, Declarations, Summary Judgement Motions, and settlements. Subjects will include how to respond to questions from attorneys and become an effective witness in depositions and at trial. The webinar will also focus on the importance of understanding of the tort litigation process and surviving the tort litigation process. The instructors will discuss the importance of documentation in context sensitive solutions design work and how to prepare to be an effective witness in the litigation process. A significant portion of the webinar will concentrate on what can be learned from many different cases filed against public agencies. The course will be interactive and members of the audience will be asked for responses from the audience about various aspects of the material being presented.

Learning Outcomes:

The intent of the course is to improve public agency practices to improve their defense and reduce future claims. The course will cover design or traffic control device usage or operational/maintenance issues that frequently are overlooked or ignored, and end up causing problems or legal action. The main learning outcomes will include but be not limited to:
  • Understanding concepts of liability for design or maintenance of public infrastructure.
  • Covering the basics of document production, responding to public records requests, notices to produce documents, special interrogatories, request for admissions.
  • How to behave, respond and provide focused responses to questions posed by attorneys during depositions and at trial from an engineer's perspective.
  • Learning about a variety of tort liability litigation practices
  • Understanding how highway design practices are challenged in various situations
  • Exploring concept of discretion as a strategy in government tort liability
  • Understanding the importance of balancing factors in addressing the needs of all road users.

Who Should Attend

This webinar will benefit transportation professionals (engineers and planners) who work for consultants, cities, counties, and state agencies involved in designing roadway projects. This course is designed for individuals with some background and training in designing streets and intersections who are interested in learning more about the tort liability, how it relates to the highway design process. The course may also be helpful to the staff of public agencies who are involved with street and roadway maintenance on a day to day basis. It is not designed or intended for attorneys.

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