Is the State to Blame if Mother Nature Strikes? Handicapping a Hypothetical Viaduct Lawsuit

This week, the state announced that it has increased the list of viaduct replacement options from three to ten. But with the political process seemingly dragging and with removal of the old, unstable structure still four years off, some might wonder: what if an earthquake were to hit in the meantime? After all, it was the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake that set the structure sinking into Elliott Bay, and since then a group of earth sciences and urban planning experts at the University of Washington have repeatedly warned the state to shut it down as soon as possible. If an earthquake were to strike at rush hour tomorrow and a collapsed viaduct killed thousands, would the state end up paying damages on wrongful death lawsuits?

Many states employ

"If it were a huge earthquake and even new buildings were collapsing, it would be a lot harder to say that the state was negligent with the Viaduct,

 
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