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Re-Routing of Road Near Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Sparks Complaints

An article about a seemingly local dispute caught my attention because the underlying issue is important to West Palm Beach car crash attorneys like me. As the Palm Beach Post reported Jan. 10, some homeowners in the Equestrian Club Estates area of Wellington are upset that a private road there was moved. The road, Equestrian Club Drive, leads to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, which hosts horse shows and other events, including this week’s Winter Equestrian Festival. The homeowners’ association for the area, which owns the road, said the realignment was needed to keep the road out of the center’s showgrounds and discourage street parking. But some residents said their property rights were violated and they should have been given a chance to give their opinions.

According to the article, the old road split the showgrounds in two, which meant horses were sharing space with cars, pedestrians and golf carts. The new road goes around the grounds and also has dedicated places for horses to cross. In addition, a spokesman for the village said the curbs on the new road discourage street parking. The road is privately owned by a subsidiary of Wellington Equestrian Partners, so that company’s right to move it is not seriously in dispute. The Equestrian Club Estates neighborhood has a general easement, which means people who live in the neighborhood have the right to use the road to get to their property. The Equestrian Club Estates neighborhood association worked with Wellington Equestrian Partners on the road’s realignment. Nonetheless, two residents quoted said they felt they lost their easement in the realignment and that the new road may actually be more dangerous because it’s closer to show rings.

As a Hialeah auto accident lawyer, I’m glad everyone involved is thinking about safety, even if they have different ideas about how to achieve that safety. In fact, the owner of the road was probably smart to move it, because if the old road was truly unsafe, the owner would have been vulnerable to lawsuits. Roads can be defective by design if they are designed in a way that limits drivers’ lines of sight, place hazards in the way or fail to control traffic adequately. In this case, the company could have been liable in lawsuits claiming it didn’t control horse traffic’s interaction with car traffic well enough. Even a single accident between a car and a horse would be fairly serious, because the size of horses and the speed of cars could mean serious damage to both sides. If the new alignment is safer and legal problems can be worked out, it’s probably best for everyone involved.

If you’ve been in a serious auto accident that you believe was caused by someone else’s bad decisions, you should call Cohn, Smith & Cohn right away. The vast majority of all auto accidents are caused by human errors — but every now and then, problems with roadway design or maintenance can cause crashes. When they do, it’s important to get legal help quickly, because a defective road is almost always the fault of a government agency. Suing a government agency is much more complicated than suing an individual and often has short deadlines, making it very important to get an experienced Plantation car wreck attorney on your side right away. We help our clients through the process of administrative claims and the lawsuit itself, helping them get the best possible compensation for their injuries, pain and emotional suffering.

Cohn, Smith & Cohn offers free, confidential consultations, so you risk nothing by telling us about your case and learning more about your rights. To set up a meeting, call our main Broward County office at (954) 431-8100 or send us an email today.

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