Liability for Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Badly-Maintained Roads
Using a motorcycle as your primary vehicle, or even just on weekends or for special rides, can come with certain risks. Your main source of risk is likely to be other drivers who lack an understanding of how to scan the road for motorcycles or who otherwise drive hazardously. However, especially as weather shifts from winter to spring and conditions become conducive to riding a motorcycle more often, you may notice that roadways have taken some damage and are in need of attention. While a passenger vehicle can easily navigate a patch of gravel or pothole without incident, such roadway damage can pose a great danger to a motorcyclist. Motorcycle riders may have an opportunity to recover against the body responsible for keeping road safe, however, if they’re injured due to unsafe road conditions.
Roads themselves can prove perilous to motorcyclists
Motorcycle riding involves a great deal more skill than driving a car. Since their wheels are narrower and bike bodies must remain balanced to stay upright, substances on or bumps in the road can easily interfere with a bike’s safe navigation. Spilled gravel along a roadwork site can force an unaware biker into a skid should the gravel cause the bike’s wheel to lose contact with the road. A worn-down groove in an older stretch of asphalt can pull in a bike’s front tire, causing it to veer off course. Even poor roadway design or engineering can prove more dangerous to a motorcyclist than to the driver of a truck or car. A badly-graded or banked road could more easily send a motorcycle careening off to the side, and poor signage on a curved road might lead to a head-on collision for a car and bike whose drivers did not realize the steepness of the curve, which is much more likely to end badly for the biker.
Who is responsible for accidents on badly-maintained roads?
Depending on where the road is located, a state, county or local government body is likely to have been charged with keeping a given stretch of roadway safe and well-maintained for its drivers. A government body with the duty to keep the road free from hazards and in drivable condition which acts palpably unreasonable in failing to do so may be liable for injuries caused by that dangerous road. The concept of “sovereign immunity”—i.e., a government’s immunity from most lawsuits– places limits on an individual’s ability to sue their county, city or state for personal injury damages. Strict time limits and notice requirements will apply to such claims, making it important to take action quickly after an accident when the government may be liable for your medical bills or pain and suffering, and economic loss.
If you’ve been hurt in a New Jersey motorcycle accident, find an attorney who will zealously and knowledgeably pursue your right to be compensated for your injuries; contact personal injury lawyer Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation at 973-532-9681.