Road accidents are never fun, but motorcycle collisions are usually worse than ones involving automobiles because the driver is so exposed to the environment around them. If your loved one was killed or disabled in an accident caused by the conditions of the road they were driving on, getting compensation for the pain and suffering is trickier than you might think. Hire a lawyer with experience in motorcycle accidents to navigate the tricky world of suing over road damage.
Statute of Limitations
First, you're facing a very small statute of limitations if you plan to hold the city or county that paved the road responsible for the accident. Most areas only allow for a 30 day time period when making a formal claim against a municipal organization. You'll need to prepare a detailed statement of your claim, including a detailed explanation of the accident and your argument regarding the road's maintenance, within that time period. A lawyer makes it a lot easier to get the right letter written up and delivered by the deadline.
Don't just immediately assume the county's department of transportation is responsible for the ruts or potholes that caused the motorcycle accident in question. If it was a private road, the homeowner's association or land owner is responsible instead. A problem with a public road might actually be the responsibility of
- The county or state government that cut funding for road repairs and maintenance
- Private contractors hired to work on the road
- Fellow private citizens that damaged the road themselves or created a hazard like a felled tree.
It's hard enough just to figure out who is actually responsible for the road conditions, but it can seem impossible to get it done within such a short statute of limitations in case you need to sue the city.This is why you need an attorney to help.
Immunity from Claims
Don't overlook the fact that many government agencies and offices are also immune to being held responsible for these kinds of accidents. Depending on your local and state laws, you may not be able to sue regardless of the situation. A lawyer can help you seek compensation through negotiation if taking your case to court becomes impossible.
It's not enough that the road was in poor repair when the motorcycle accident took place either. In order to win a case against a public department or a private individual, you need to prove negligence. This means you must collect evidence showing the road was overdue for schedule repairs or that someone in the maintenance department made a mistake and patched a pothole the wrong way. This is the most challenging part of any motorcycle accident lawsuit, so you definitely need a lawyer on your side when trying to request records and evidence from the very people you are suing.
Finally, you might be surprised to know that the driver of the motorcycle is still held responsible for the accident until you can prove it was unavoidable as well. The judge will want to know why the driver couldn't just go around the pothole or slow down to cross the ruts. Showing a lack of warning signs and demonstrating that curves blocked the view of obstacles is usually necessary to show the crash was truly the fault of the defendants.
Don't be discouraged by all the obstacles you face in a motorcycle accident case caused by a faulty road surface. While it is a complicated task to tackle every part of the case, any skilled and experienced accident attorney can help you get fair compensation, whether you're suing the local government or a neighbor. For more information, contact a law firm like Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC.