Liability of the Department of Transportation

Section 230:80

    230:80 Liability of the Department of Transportation; Standard of Care. –
I. The department of transportation shall not be held liable for damages in an action to recover for personal injury or property damage arising out of its construction, maintenance, or repair of public highways and highway bridges unless such injury or damage was caused by an insufficiency, as defined by RSA 230:78, and:
(a) The department of transportation received a notice of such insufficiency as set forth in RSA 230:78, but failed to act as provided by RSA 230:79; or
(b) The commissioner of the department of transportation who is responsible for maintenance and repair of highways or highway bridges, had actual notice or knowledge of such insufficiency, by means other than notice pursuant to RSA 230:78 and was grossly negligent or exercised bad faith in responding or failing to respond to such actual knowledge; or
(c) The condition constituting the insufficiency was created by an intentional act of an employee acting in the scope of his official duty while in the course of his employment, acting with gross negligence, or with reckless disregard of the hazard.
(d) The department of transportation shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, relative to procedures for written and oral notice, and for the transfer of personal knowledge regarding insufficiencies to responsible supervisory persons, to insure that information relative to such insufficiencies in the highway system is quickly communicated to those empowered to make decisions about repairs and posting.
II. Any action to recover damages for bodily injury, personal injury or property damage arising out of construction, repair or maintenance of its public highways or highway bridges shall be dismissed unless the complaint describes with particularity the means by which the department of transportation received actual notice of the alleged insufficiency, or the intentional act which created the alleged insufficiency.
III. The acceptance or layout of a public highway shall not be construed to confer upon the department of transportation any notice of, or liability for, insufficiencies or defects which arose or were created prior to such layout or acceptance.
IV. The setting of construction, repair, or maintenance standards of levels of service of highways and highway bridges by the commissioner, whether accomplished formally or informally, shall be deemed a discretionary, policy function for which the department of transportation shall not be held liable in the absence of malice or bad faith. However, the department shall develop and implement standards for the design and placement of rumble strips, drain grates, and road surface treatments that eliminate foreseen hazards for bicyclists by following federal guidelines.

Source. 1992, 188:2. 2008, 209:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2009.