Many motorcycle accidents occur when other people drive negligently and carelessly. However, sometimes, motorcycle accidents are a direct result of roadway defects, such as deep potholes, cracks, fissures, and grooved pavement. All of these defects may dislodge a motorcyclist from their bike, causing them to fall on the ground and suffer serious injuries.
In these situations, an injured cyclist may take legal action against the responsible party, such as a construction company, municipality, or other individual or entity.
If you recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident that resulted from a roadway hazard, you are not alone. As quickly as possible after your accident, seek the medical care and treatment that you need for your accident-related injuries.
Consult a qualified motorcycle accident attorney who can handle every aspect of your personal injury case as quickly as possible. Your attorney may investigate the circumstances of your motorcycle accident and determine whether a roadway defect was the likely cause. Your lawyer can also file a personal injury claim on your behalf – or pursue litigation in the court system if the insurance company refuses to offer you fair monetary damages via a favorable settlement offer.
Throughout the entire claim and litigation process, your Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney will strongly advocate for you and maximize the financial compensation you receive for your accident-related injuries and losses. Your lawyer can also answer your questions every step of the way so you can make informed and intelligent decisions throughout the entire process.
Common Roadway Hazards that Frequently Lead to Serious Motorcycle Crashes
Several different types of roadway hazards may lead to a motorcycle accident.
Some of the most common hazards include:
- Deep potholes in travel lanes that motorcyclists frequently use
- Grooved pavement and other defects that are present in and around construction zones
- Blown-out tires and other debris that remain in the middle of the road
- Deep cracks and fissures in roadway macadam
- Uneven pavement at a construction site (usually where one section of the road is newly paved and the other section is not)
- Concrete barriers or lane dividers
- Traffic cones that the wind blows over or that another vehicle knocks over
All of these roadway hazards may cause a motorcyclist to lose their balance, fall off their motorcycle, and strike the ground, suffering serious injuries in the process. In many situations, these roadway hazards exist – or persist – because of others' negligence.
The owner or maintainer of the roadway or construction site has a reasonable duty to ensure that roads are free and clear of hazards and obstructions. They also have a duty to warn about or repair a defective condition within a reasonable time. Otherwise, a serious motorcycle accident may happen, which leads to debilitating injuries for the cyclist.
Individuals and entities who you can hold responsible for a roadway hazard or defect include:
- Construction companies
- Project managers
- Municipalities, including cities, counties, and other local government entities
In some situations, if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you can take legal action against the responsible individual or entity – including a governmental entity. However, in municipalities, many jurisdictions have a notice requirement that is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit in court.
If an injured accident victim does not follow the proper notice requirements, then they might inadvertently waive their right to file a lawsuit against the negligent municipality and recover the monetary compensation and damages they deserve for their injuries.
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your area will be aware of any notice requirements applicable to your jurisdiction. Your attorney can then submit the proper notice to the negligent municipality under the applicable Local Government Tort Claims Act.
Your lawyer may subsequently file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf, seeking the full monetary compensation you need.
Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident That Results From a Roadway Hazard
When a motorcyclist hits a deep crack, pothole, or other roadway defect, they may fall off their motorcycle and hit the ground with a significant amount of force. This is especially true if the accident happens at a high rate of speed. When a cyclist falls directly on the ground, they may stand to suffer extremely serious injuries.
Motorcycle accident injuries are common because riders do not have much protection between themselves and the ground. Even when a motorcyclist wears a sturdy helmet, that helmet may crack if it hits the ground with significant force. You may suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, such as a concussion or coma.
Other severe injuries that a motorcycle accident victim might suffer include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Rib fractures
- Bone fractures
- Eye damage
- Mouth and teeth injuries
- Road rash
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Paralysis injuries
- Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries
Upon suffering one or more of these injuries in a motorcycle accident, always undergo the medical treatment that you need to get better. Specifically, you should follow through with your medical provider's treatment recommendations, including consulting with a medical specialist, undergoing a medical procedure, or attending regular physical therapy sessions.
While you receive medical treatment for all of your accident-related injuries, your motorcycle accident lawyer may begin advocating for you by assembling a settlement demand package on your behalf and submitting that demand package to the insurance company after your medical treatment is complete.
Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident that Arises From a Roadway Hazard
To recover monetary damages in a motorcycle accident case, the injured cyclist has to satisfy their legal burden of proof.
Municipalities, construction companies, and other entities have a duty to maintain roadways in a reasonably safe condition. If they fail to do so, they may be liable for the injuries and other losses that a motorcycle accident victim suffers.
First, an injured cyclist must prove that the at-fault individual or entity behaved unreasonably. For example, a municipality might have failed to properly (and promptly) warn about or repair a known dangerous roadway hazard, such as a deep pothole or crack, that had the potential to dislodge a cyclist from their motorcycle.
Next, the injured motorcycle rider victim must establish that as a direct result of the at-fault party's negligence, their motorcycle crash occurred. Finally, the motorcyclist must show that as a direct and proximate result of their accident, they suffered at least one physical injury.
To fully establish your required legal burden of proof, your attorney may retain an accident reconstructionist who can testify as a witness in your case.
For example, an accident reconstructionist may visit the crash site, examine photographs, review police reports, and speak with witnesses. They may then draft a report which states how and why the motorcycle crash likely happened. The report should also indicate who was responsible for the accident.
In addition, your lawyer can hire a medical expert who can causally relate your claimed injuries to the motorcycle accident and/or establish whether you sustained permanent injuries.
Filing a Timely Personal Injury Claim after a Motorcycle Accident
Following a motorcycle accident, a skilled attorney can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your behalf. When submitting a personal injury claim, your lawyer will gather various documents and assemble them into a settlement demand package.
These documents typically include copies of police reports, medical records and bills, lost income documentation from an employer (if you are claiming lost income), photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and video footage that shows the motorcycle accident occurring (if such footage is available).
The insurance company adjuster handling your case will review these documents after your lawyer submits them. They will then determine whether or not to accept fault for the accident.
If the at-fault driver's insurer accepts fault, then settlement negotiations may proceed forward. However, these negotiations may take several weeks or months, depending upon the adjuster with whom you are dealing.
Insurance company adjusters and insurance companies themselves have absolutely no incentive to fairly compensate you for any of your accident-related injuries. Rather, they want to downplay the extent of your injuries as much as possible and offer you the smallest amount of money they can to resolve your claim.
Your motorcycle accident attorney can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf, highlight the strengths of your case, and downplay any potential weaknesses. If the insurance company still does not offer you fair settlement compensation, your lawyer may threaten them with litigation and start the process by filing a lawsuit in court on your behalf.
Throughout the motorcycle accident litigation process, your lawyer can answer written questions from the defense attorney (called interrogatories) and represent you at your discovery deposition.
Your lawyer may also represent you at other litigation proceedings that take place in court, such as a civil jury trial. Finally, your lawyer may pursue alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, such as binding arbitration or mediation. Your lawyer will do everything possible to resolve your case as efficiently – and for as much money – as possible.
Call a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Your Area Right Away
Victims of motorcycle accidents that result from roadway hazards have a limited amount of time in which to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking monetary damages. Under the statute of limitations, accident victims must file their lawsuit within two years of their accident date.
In addition, if they plan on filing a lawsuit against a governmental entity, such as a municipality, the initial notice deadline will likely be much sooner than the statute of limitations deadline. Given the short time periods involved, accident victims must retain legal counsel to represent them in their case as quickly as possible.
A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in your area will know all applicable notice provisions and statute of limitations deadlines. Your lawyer can file a timely personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf, seeking the full monetary damages you deserve and aggressively fighting for your legal rights at every stage of the case.
Government entities and other parties should be accountable when they allow dangerous road hazards to cause you harm. While compensation will not restore your physical condition and abilities following a severe injury, it can provide support and peace of mind as you move forward.
Motorcycle accident attorneys dedicate themselves to protecting your rights and interests, so never delay in seeking your free consultation. A lawyer can advise you of your legal options following a devastating crash.