Who Is Liable for a Car Accident In An Intersection of State Highways and Township Road ?

In Griffith v. Snader, 795 A.2d 502 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2002), the plaintiffs were injured in an accident at the intersection of three roads, two state highways and a township road. The drivers involved in the collision were traveling on the state highways when the accident occurred. In granting summary judgment in favor of the township, the trial court found that the township's road was not involved at all. This court affirmed, concluding that the mere fact that the township's road was part of the intersection was insufficient to render the township potentially liable for the plaintiff's injuries. The court in Griffith held that no negligent act of the township could have caused the plaintiff's injuries where the township road was not in any way involved in the accident. ("We need not reach the question of the Township's duty to erect an appropriate traffic-control device because the accident did not involve a Township road." Id. at 505.) Nevertheless, and even after concluding that Starr was not controlling, the court in Griffith addressed the plaintiff's argument concerning the township's authority to install a traffic-control device. In doing so, the court specifically declined to consider a letter from Department of Transportation (DOT) written almost three years after the accident, noting that the common law doctrine of subsequent remedial repairs and Pa. R.E. 407 exclude such evidence "at least when such evidence is offered to establish fault or culpable conduct." Id. at 507 n.9 (quoting Duchess v. Langston Corp., 564 Pa. 529, 539, 769 A.2d 1131, 1137 (2001)).