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County Immune from Liability Due to Construction “Flagger’s” Alleged Negligence

Occasionally, county employees are responsible for controlling the flow of traffic on a county highway or roadway that is under construction.[1] However, a Wisconsin court of appeals recently ruled that a county is not liable for the injuries a driver sustains due to a county employee’s negligence while directing traffic on a county highway that is under construction.[2]

In 2009, Outagamie County employees were directed by the county to serve as “flaggers” at a county highway under construction.[3] Beverly Socha and Jennifer Greiner were both driving towards the intersection being controlled by the “flaggers” from different directions.[4] At the direction of the “flagger,” Ms. Socha proceeded into the intersection and was struck by Ms. Greiner’s vehicle.[5] Ms. Socha did not see Ms. Greiner’s vehicle approaching as she proceeded through the intersection because her view was completely blocked by construction equipment.[6] As such, both Ms. Socha and Ms. Greiner alleged the “flagger’s” negligence caused the accident and that the county was therefore liable for the personal injury and property damages they received.[7]

The court of appeals disagreed with the plaintiffs’ contentions that the county was liable for the personal injury and damages the plaintiffs incurred. The court of appeals stated that Wis. Stat. § 893.80 (4) prohibited the plaintiffs from recovering against the county because Wis. Stat. § 893.80 (4) provides immunity to acts involving the exercise of discretion and the control of traffic in a construction zone is an inherently discretionary decision.[8] As such, the court ruled the county was not liable for the injuries the plaintiffs suffered. [9]

The ruling that a county is not liable for the injuries a driver sustains due to a county employee’s negligence while directing traffic on a county highway that is under construction makes it all the more imperative that you proceed cautiously at intersections to ensure the safety of you and those around you.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence or fault of another person, call Gruber Law Offices, LLC today for your free consultation. There is no fee unless we win and we can meet you at a place that is convenient for you such as your place of work, hospital, home, or our conveniently located downtown Milwaukee office.

Speak with one of our lawyers right now by calling 414-276-6666 for a free initial consultation. “ONE CALL… THAT’S ALL!”


[1]www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.

[2] American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Outagamie Cnty., 2011 AP 1211.

[3]www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.

[4] American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Outagamie Cnty., 2011 AP 1211.

[5] See www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.

[6] American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Outagamie Cnty., 2011 AP 1211.

[7]www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.

[8]www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.

[9]www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=110643.