Road conditions are among the least suspected causes of motorcycle accidents. Mainly because people generally assume that it’s often either the fault of the motorcyclist(s) themselves or of another vehicle driver. Road conditions, however, are a significant cause of motorcycle accidents. A 2-wheeled vehicle is much more dependent on a solid, high friction and well-maintained road surface for the operator to maintain control versus an automobile.
In most states, government agencies are responsible for maintaining public roads and highways. Nonetheless, a drive down any public road may reveal deficiencies in its maintenance.
In this article, we will discuss who should be held responsible if a motorcyclist gets into an accident caused by poor road conditions, and whether they can seek compensation for the damages.
Common Examples of Road Maintenance Issues Which Lead to Accidents
Several issues in road design, construction, and road maintenance can lead to accidents. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Debris on the road;
- Lack of dividers or guardrails;
- Poor lighting on roads and intersections;
- Pavement defects (for example: uneven pavement, potholes, resurfaced pavement, and grooved pavement);
- Poorly designed intersections;
- Lane shifts and turn lanes without visible signs or markings;
- Sand or loose gravel on the pavement.
Who’s Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
As most roads are maintained by state governments and local agencies, (for example, the Florida Department of Transportation), they are the ones that can be held liable for accidents causes by failure to maintain the roads properly, if it is deemed their fault. Yet, in some circumstances, it is also possible that a private contractor or other agencies may be responsible, or jointly responsible, for maintaining the road. In this case, multiple agencies may be held responsible to share in a portion of the liability.
Sovereign Immunity in Road Accident Cases
Florida Statute § 768.28 governs claims filed against the state of Florida and its “agencies and subdivisions”. Essentially, this law allows citizens to sue the government or its agencies for wrongs committed by that government or agency against the citizens. Therefore, you can sue and seek compensation against the state of Florida or agencies responsible for maintaining the road.
This Statute has several limitations on the claims a citizen can make. For instance:
- You can never sue the agency’s employees, unless they caused the harm intentionally;
- You are capped on the amount of damages you can collect ($200,000.00 against a single state entity OR $300,000.00 total if the claim is against multiple state entities);
- You can never collect punitive damages or interest in these cases.
Get the Help of an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida
An accident caused by road conditions is never a simple case, especially if a government agency is responsible for deficiencies in road maintenance. You’ll want an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you along the way. Contact us at 727-800-5052 for a free legal consultation. Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.