The Supreme Court of Mississippi recently released a decision upholding a trial court’s denial of the state transportation commission’s request for sovereign immunity from a wrongful death claim brought on behalf of a motorcyclist who was allegedly killed because of unsafe conditions on a roadway operated by the defendant. The state supreme court ultimately rejected the defendant’s argument that roadway maintenance during construction is a discretionary function, which would protect the state from liability in the event that the negligence of state employees caused unsafe road conditions that resulted in the accident. Based on the high court’s ruling, the family of the deceased motorcyclist may be compensated by the state for their loss.
The case of Adams v. The Mississippi Transportation Commission was filed by the surviving family members of a man who died after he lost control of his motorcycle while changing lanes on the highway. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the accident occurred in a construction zone with an uneven surface between two of the lanes. After the accident, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death complaint and sought damages from the government, alleging that the Transportation Commission was negligent by failing to comply with relevant construction standards, failing to correctly use traffic control devices, failing to place necessary warnings on the roadway, and creating an unreasonably dangerous condition with a reckless disregard for the safety of the public.