Motorcyclists must always anticipate possible road hazards and be prepared to maneuver out of danger, especially during the spring and summer months when road construction is everywhere. But all too often, motorcyclists are catastrophically injured due to the municipality and/or state’s failure to provide safe roadways. We are entitled to ride on public roads that have been properly built and maintained by our public servants.
Public officials are required to post adequate signage on all roads that warn you of such hazards as “uneven pavement”, “rough shoulders”, “detours”, “loose gravel”, etc. They are also required to design our roads to encompass all variables such as speed limit, curves, traffic volume, geographic location, and so on.
If you encounter any hazardous road conditions that may be injurious to you and your fellow riders, you must inform your jurisdiction (in writing and verified!) that there is a hazardous road condition that must be corrected. Once they have been informed, they are responsible to correct the problem immediately. If they don’t, and their negligence results in an accident, they may be liable for all your damages.
Always carry a camera. You will need to document, document, document! If you have sustained damage due to their negligence, you will need to prove “causation” meaning that you must determine that the public utility’s failure to provide safe roads was the primary reason for the accident. Take pictures of the hazardous condition immediately. Many jurisdictions “magically” correct the problem before you can find them liable for their negligence and you must protect yourself.
Here are a few helpful suggestions that may help you have a safe and enjoyable journey:
1. Check with your local weather bureau before you set out. Many roadway surfaces are dangerously compromised by overnight frost, morning fog, lack of sunlight, etc. You need to know the conditions and anticipate the potential risk before you set out.
2. Check with your state Department of Transportation and get all current updates on roads that are currently under construction. If you observe any road condition that could be potentially hazardous to you, use caution.
3.This goes without saying – Never set out without first performing your pre-ride check.
A jury awarded $5.9 million to a 47 year-old unemployed woman whose leg was amputated after her vehicle went off the roadway and crashed into a guardrail.
Facts: The plaintiff was driving a Datsun 280Z on the on-ramp to an Interstate. As she was driving, a cup of hot chocolate spilled, causing her to drive off the on left side of the on-ramp. As she tried to re enter the roadway, she was looking over her right shoulder when she struck a guardrail on the bridge that crosses over the boulevard.
She claimed that the guardrail speared through her vehicle, smashing her left foot and cutting off her right leg. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that had the guardrail been properly installed, she would have been involved only in a minor non injury collision. Plaintiff’s counsel determined that the guardrail she struck had been improperly installed. The Federal Government had complained to the director of the State Department of Transportation about the same deficiencies as those in this guardrail, the plaintiff reported. The Transportation Dept. countered the plaintiff’s claims by maintaining that the guardrail was properly installed. It also claimed that the plaintiff would have suffered the same injuries regardless of the guardrail installation because of the way she allegedly struck the rail.
Injuries: The plaintiff’s right leg was cut off at the knee. At the hospital, her stump was amputated at the mid-thigh due to the severe damage to the bones and muscles.
Verdict: The jury found that defendants were 100% at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendants filed and lost a motion for a new trial.
Over the past 30 years guardrails have killed & incapacitated more than 90,000 people. Our Law Office has successfully handled, and is currently handling, many of these types of cases. We are experienced in the intricacies of defective guardrail cases and can assist you in maximizing your recovery if you have been injured.