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How Roadway Defects Can Cause Motorcycle Accidents—and What You Can Do

a defective road condition

If you’re an avid motorcycle rider, you know that bikes have many advantages to cars, such as fuel efficiency and maneuverability. However, the narrow wheel base of a motorcycle means that you are much more vulnerable to defects in the roadway than other drivers, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to feel safe while you’re out on the road. If you’ve been hurt in a crash while riding your motorcycle, and believe that a defective road condition may be responsible, speak with an attorney as soon as possible about pursuing a claim for your damages.

Types of roadway defects

Lots of different road conditions can prove perilous to a motorcycle rider, though a passenger vehicle driver may pass over them without another thought. Conditions such as loose gravel from a recent construction project scattered over the road, especially deep potholes, eroded roadway, or deep fissures in an old, weather-worn stretch of road can cause a motorcyclist to lose control and crash, even while driving safely. Additionally, some safety hazards that could hurt any driver can have a more deadly impact on a motorcyclist. For example, if curves in the road are not denoted by signage, or lanes are not properly marked, an oncoming car on a two-lane road could end up in the lane of a motorcyclist traveling in the opposite direction, resulting in a head-on crash where the motorcyclist is more likely to end up seriously hurt.

Who is responsible for a road in poor condition?

The responsible government entity for a stretch of road will vary depending on where you’re riding, and the reason for a crash. If you claim that an interstate highway suffers from a fatal engineering flaw, then the federal government may be responsible for injuries stemming from that defect. However, highway maintenance is often handed off to state or local governments, making injuries from hazards in the road the responsibility of those offices. An attorney experienced in car accident and road defect lawsuits will be able to investigate publicly-available records to determine the entities responsible for the design and maintenance of the roadway.

The legal theory of “sovereign immunity” states that governmental bodies are immune from lawsuits by private individuals. There are typically exceptions to this immunity from suit, however, where a government entity has acted highly negligently or recklessly in carrying out their duties. Where a government office responsible for keeping the road in safe, drivable condition received reports that a stretch of road had become unsafe, and failed to take action within a reasonable timeframe to rectify that hazard, then that office may be liable to victims of that roadway hazard.

The time limits to file claims against government entities are often very brief, and litigants are often required to meet additional administrative requirements before filing a lawsuit. If you do believe that a defect in the roadway was responsible for your motorcycle accident, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so that you can take steps to preserve and strengthen your claim.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle or car crash in the Hudson Valley, contact personal injury law firm Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a free consultation on your claims, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, or 845-236-4411 in Marlboro.

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Kingston Office

255 Fair Street, P.O. Box 3356
Kingston, New York 12402

Phone: 845-331-4100
Fax: 845-331-6930

Marlboro Office

1390 Route 9W, P.O. Box 727
Marlboro, NY 12542

Phone: 845-236-4411
Fax: 845-236-3190

Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, is located in Kingston, NY and Marlboro, NY and serves clients in and around Ulster County as well as parts of Orange, Dutchess, Columbia and Greene Counties as well as many surrounding areas.

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