Bridge Collapse Puts Focus on Accidents and Infrastructure


The aftermath of the Skagit River Bridge collapse brought warnings about the dangerous state of America’s infrastructure. Specifically, the conditions of America’s bridges have been discussed. But what about bridges here in Washington State?

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, more than 30 bridges in Kittitas, Yakima and Klickitat counties are listed as “structurally deficient.” Six of those are in Yakima County alone. In 2012, 143 bridges throughout the State of Washington were listed as structurally deficient.

Officials, however, are quick to point out that the term “structurally deficient” means that a bridge is in need of repair or replacement. It does not mean that a bridge is dangerous or on the brink of falling down or collapsing.

The Skagit River Bridge was listed as “functionally obsolete” by the Federal Highway Administration at the time of its collapse – a term that supposedly means only that the design of a bridge is outdated, not that the bridge is structurally unsound. But many tractor-trailer drivers said the bridge would sway or shake as a vehicle passed over it and that they could hear pieces crumbling off it as they crossed.

Who Is At Fault When A Bridge Collapses?

Most major roadways, bridges, dams and airports were all built decades ago and many have been poorly maintained. The American Society for Civil Engineers has given the country as a whole a grade of D+ for its overall infrastructure. While marginally better, Washington State’s grade of a C certainly leaves room for improvement.

If a defective roadway or bridge is a contributing factor in an accident, the governmental responsible for the structure could be held liable for any resulting injuries. This often means that the government could be held responsible for a design defect or for failure to repair or properly maintain a roadway.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Yakima Valley area motor vehicle accident and you believe that a defect in design or a failure to repair or maintain a bridge, roadway, dam or other structure was a contributing factor, you could be entitled to compensation.

The Yakima Valley personal injury attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help you get through the legal process and make sure that the party responsible for your injuries or loss is held accountable. Call (509) 853-2222 or use our online contact form for your free initial consultation.