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Can You Sue a Municipality If Hazardous Road Conditions Caused Your Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle Accident

Hazardous road conditions are a common cause of motorcycle accidents. Notably, a municipality has a legal duty to maintain roads within its jurisdiction properly. While no one expects that the roads will always be in perfect condition, a municipality may be held accountable in cases where potholes, poor road surfaces, and other hazards cause a motorcyclist’s injuries. If a municipality had prior notice of the dangerous road condition that caused your motorcycle accident — and failed to make timely repairs — it may be liable for your injuries.     

What Hazardous Road Conditions Can Cause a Motorcycle Accident?

Since they are not protected by a steel frame or airbags like those in cars, SUVs, and trucks, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to road hazards. Although a large vehicle might be able to drive over a pothole without incident, these types of road conditions can be fatal for a motorcycle operator or passenger. Other dangerous road conditions that can lead to motorcycle accidents can include:  

  • Cracked asphalt
  • Construction debris
  • Lack of signage
  • Poorly marked lanes
  • Inadequate speed limits
  • Improper drainage
  • Malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Lack of guard rails
  • Poorly designed roads

Motorcycle accident injuries caused by hazardous road conditions can include soft tissue injuries, broken bones, fractures, traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, disfigurement, paralysis, and even fatality. Not only can these injuries result in the need for extensive medical treatment, but you may also lose a considerable amount of time from work as you recover. In some cases, motorcycle accident injuries may be permanently debilitating — and you may be unable to return to the workplace. By filing a personal injury action against the party responsible for the dangerous road conditions, you may be able to recover both your economic and non-economic damages.  

Municipal Liability for Motorcycle Accidents

Proving a municipality’s liability in a motorcycle accident caused by a road hazard can be complex. Not only must you demonstrate that the hazardous road condition caused your injuries, but you must also show that the government knew (or should have known) that the road was unsafe — and they failed to take the proper measures to repair it within a reasonable amount of time. However, certain laws are in place that protect a municipality from incurring liability for accidents caused by road defects.    

Under New York City’s “Pothole Law,” the City must have received prior written notice of the hazard that caused the accident and failed to make repairs within 15 days in order for a victim to sue. New York State has a similar statute in place — the state is protected from liability for accidents caused by road defects in state highways that occur outside May 1 through November 15.  

Motorcycle accidents caused by road hazards require a thorough investigation to determine all potentially liable parties. In some cases, a party besides a municipality may be to blame for a motorcycle accident in connection with a hazardous road condition. In addition to the state or a local government entity, the construction company that worked on the roadway might also be responsible. An experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and identify all potentially negligent parties to help ensure you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.     

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a hazardous road condition, you may be eligible to recover your damages by filing a personal injury action. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can work to hold the municipality or other responsible party liable — and obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented victims of negligence for three decades and strives to secure the best possible results in each of their unique cases.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.