Motorcycle accidents are too common in the United States. Thousands occur each year, and hundreds of them lead to severe or fatal injuries. However, when an accident results from poorly maintained roads, many motorcyclists wonder if they can still pursue financial compensation. Suing a government agency is a complex and lengthy process, so it will be in your best interest to seek legal counsel from an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle injury attorney.
What Is Sovereign Immunity and How Will It Affect My Claim?
When a local state or federal agency neglects road maintenance, accident victims must consider the doctrine of sovereign immunity and how it may interfere with their personal injury case. This legal doctrine means that citizens cannot file a civil or criminal lawsuit against a government without it. However, federal and state agencies can pass legislation on how the specific government entity can be sued.
Under the Florida Tort Claims Act (FTCA), Florida lawmakers have waived some of the state’s immunity in road accidents. If a poorly maintained road caused your accident, you may have the right to file a claim against the agency responsible for keeping the road in a safe condition.
Limitations on a Claim Against a Government Agency
Even though the FTCA allows accident victims to file a claim, there are certain limitations you must be aware of, such as the following:
- You only have three years to file a notice of a personal injury claim against the government in Florida.
- You must first present the claim in writing to the government agency responsible for maintaining that road.
- Single claim damages are typically capped at $200,000, while multiple claims from the same accident are capped at $300,000.You may be eligible to receive more, but the Florida legislature must approve it.
- Most cases prohibit you from filing a claim against a specific government employee, as long as they acted within their everyday work scope.If they do something outside of that scope that makes the road hazardous, they might be liable.
With these restrictions, it’s vital for motorcycle accident victims to retain legal counsel to protect their interests.
What Qualifies as a Poorly Maintained Road?
Poor driving surfaces are caused by a combination of seasonal and traffic conditions. While we’re accustomed to warm weather year-round in Florida, we still experience seasonal shifts that can affect the roads. Some examples of bad road conditions are:
- Faded paint markings;
- Damaged, missing, or hidden signs;
- Road debris;
- Poor traffic management in construction zones;
- Shoulder drop-offs; and
- Poor paving jobs.
In many instances, drivers may try to avoid hazardous conditions but accidentally swerve into the other lane, causing a crash.
Gathering Evidence of Hazardous Road Conditions
The best way to collect evidence of a poorly maintained road is to take pictures at the scene of the crash. Photograph any hazardous conditions, such as the ones mentioned above. You should also take photos of the damage to your motorcycle. If there was another vehicle involved, take a wide enough shot to capture it in the same shot as your vehicle. Remember to remain safe while taking photographs on an active roadway.
You should also talk to any witnesses. Write down or record what they say, and make sure to obtain their name and contact information. Police reports will also come in handy since officers describe what the scene looks like and how they think the accident occurred.
Seek Legal Representation from Marsalisi Law
If poor road conditions caused your motorcycle accident in Florida, reach out to Marsalisi Law. Though we cannot go back in time and undo what happened to you, we can and will obtain the financial compensation you need to cover any accident-related expenses.
As a proud member of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association, Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi has consistently achieved favorable results for his clients, and you can be confident that he will do the same for you. Call (727) 800-5052 or complete a contact form to schedule a free consultation today!
Marsalisi Law is Where the Law Gets Personal!