Keeping employees and the public safe is the department’s highest value. Controlling damage to vehicles and reducing personal injury in work zones, on right-of-way and other areas under department control helps MoDOT accomplish this goal. Compared to 2021, there was a 59% increase in the number of claims. Most of the claims in 2022 were attributed to pavement defects. Also compared to 2021, there was a 24% increase in the amount paid.
This quarter, payments were made on 213 claims against the department, totaling $2,532,974.49. Five litigated claims accounted for 81% of this quarter’s payments. The department lost an arbitration decision on a 2019 lawsuit where the vehicle traveled off the road and overturned, ejecting the driver and passenger resulting in a double fatality. The panel’s decision was based on allegations of inadequate warning signs and lack of a safety edge. The department was ordered to pay $919,786. The second incident occurred in 2015 in an intersection causing a fatality and multiple permanent injuries. The petition alleges the intersection was inadequately designed resulting in a significant vision obstruction. The claim was settled for $600,000. The third claim occurred in 2017 and was also the result of a fatal crash in an intersection. The petition alleged the placement of signs caused a vision obstruction. This claim was settled for $150,000. The fourth claim occurred in 2021 arising from a crash into a tree on the department’s right of way. The department had prior notice of the clear zone obstruction. The claim was settled for $125,000. Lastly, the department was conducting an engineering analysis with workers on the side of the road just over a hillcrest. Plaintiff alleges MoDOT employees were crossing the road and vehicles in front of him were slamming on their brakes. He was driving a tractor trailer and could not get stopped, ran off the road sustaining severe injuries. The department lost the arbitration decision and was ordered to pay a total of $252,000 but paid $100,800 this quarter.
To achieve the general liability number of claims target, the focus needs to be on the department’s most common claims. Historically, the top five most frequent claim types annually are pavement defects, debris on the roadway, chip seal, mowing and striping operations.
Purpose of the Measure:
This measure tracks the number of general liability claims and amount paid.
Measurement and Data Collection:
General liability claims arise from allegations of injuries/damages caused by dangerous conditions on MoDOT property and the injury/damage that directly resulted from the condition. In addition, an employee must be negligent and create the dangerous condition or MoDOT must have actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition in sufficient time prior to the injury/damage to have taken measures to protect the public. Claims data is collected from Riskmaster, the department’s risk management claims administration software.
The target for this measure is updated annually. It is calculated by determining a 5-year average and subtracting 10%. (Exceptionally high or low years are excluded from the 5-year average calculation to determine a practical target.)
Kansas City District
Claims Administration Manager