The growth in and around a number of Ontario cities has led to many motorists encountering warning signs that the road they are using is “unassumed”. Motorists encountering these warning signs are typically advised that they can use the road “at their own risk”.
An unassumed road is commonly a public road built and/or maintained by a private individual, organization or company. A road will remain unassumed until the municipality has satisfied itself that a privately built and/or maintained road meets certain minimum maintenance standards.
Municipalities require that public roads within its jurisdiction are insured even if they have not been assumed. This is because a privately built and/or maintained road must still be safe for the public who will be using it. A privately built and/or maintained road still requires proper signage so that users are aware of hazards posed by curves, intersections, lighting, speeds or other foreseeable areas of potential harm such as the condition of the road itself.
In certain situations, a municipality may still be liable for the negligent acts and omissions of the contractor who designed and/or built the unassumed road where a crash has occurred. A municipality who is aware that a dangerous condition exists, or remains unrepaired, on an unassumed road, must still take all reasonable steps to ensure driver and pedestrian safety.
For these and other reasons motorists travelling on unassumed roads are not really using the road at only their own risk. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident on an unassumed road a personal injury lawyer can help determine where fault lies.