This Note considers whether a duty for road-maintaining entities is tenable under Virginia law. It also explores the rationale for imposing differing liabilities between landowners and road-maintaining entities. Part III reviews the various duties other states use with respect to dangerous roadside trees and concludes that the duty of reasonable care is most appropriate for Virginia. Sovereign immunity is a companion issue and is addressed in Part IV. The Part provides a brief overview of the policy arguments for sovereign immunity, before reviewing immunity’s impact at the state, county, and municipal levels. The Part also addresses a government employee’s entitlement to immunity, before considering a potential legislative solution to some of the present difficulties associated with sovereign immunity. Finally, this Note reviews anticipated impacts in the world of litigation as a result of the duty of reasonable care, before addressing the legal and policy arguments of those who say the impact of such a duty would be negative.
* This Note received the 2018 Washington and Lee Law Council Law Review Award, and was presented at the 2018 Student Notes Colloquium on October 4, 2018.