There are a number of things that can cause a motorcycle accident, beginning with rider negligence. In addition to the errors of riders, the negligence or recklessness of other drivers, like speeding, driving while impaired, failing to yield, and driving aggressively are all top causes of crashes, too.
One of the less common causes of motorcycle accidents, however, is a road that is in poor condition. That being said, poor road conditions cause motorcycle accidents often enough that a discussion about types of poor road conditions and liability for such conditions is in order. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident caused by poor road conditions in West Virginia, be sure to schedule a free consultation with our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at the law firm of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C. as soon as possible.
Types of Poor Road Conditions
Poor road conditions can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their bike. This may happen as a result of trying to avoid a poor road condition and swerving or turning too quickly, trying to stop suddenly and skidding out, or coming in contact with an uneven or slippery surface. In some cases, a motorcyclist may even run into an object or debris on the road.
Types or poor road conditions that are most common include, but are not limited to:
- Uneven roadways;
- Loose gravel;
- Animals on the road;
- Car accident debris;
- Trees or other objects on the road;
- Broken roads;
- Snow and ice;
- Lack of traffic signs or traffic signs covered by overgrowth of plants; and
- Construction zones.
Accidents that occur because of poor road conditions may be single vehicle, meaning that only the motorcyclist is involved in the crash, or multiple vehicle, meaning that a collision between the motorcyclist and one more vehicles occurs that would not have occurred but for the poor road condition(s).
Who Is Liable for an Accident Caused by Poor Road Conditions?
In order to recover compensation for an accident caused by poor road conditions, it is critical to open a thorough investigation into the accident and determine fault and liability.
In most cases, city or state governments are responsible for performing regular road maintenance and ensuring that roads are kept in a reasonably safe condition. That being said, an accident that is caused by poor road conditions in not always the fault of a municipality/government entity. To be sure, a party can only be held liable when:
- It was responsible for regular road maintenance; and
- It failed to perform reasonable road maintenance; or
- A dangerous condition existed on the road (i.e. a pothole) and the party was aware of the existence of a dangerous condition; and
- It failed to correct the dangerous condition within a reasonable amount of time; and
- This was the proximate cause of the motorcycle accident and subsequent injuries.
In other words, if a municipal government is responsible for ensuring that signs on road are maintained, potholes are repaired, and roads are otherwise kept in good condition and it knows that a section of road has an area that is cracked and has potholes and the municipality fails to correct this hazard, and the hazard leads to a motorcycle crash, the municipality could be held liable. On the other hand, if the motorcycle crash was caused by debris in the road (such as the carcass of a deceased animal) that the municipality could not have known about, then the city likely cannot be held liable.
Filing a Claim Against the Government in West Virginia
West Virginia Code Section 29-12A-4 confirms that political subdivisions have a duty to keep public roads in good condition, and that when a political subdivision’s “negligent failure” to maintain roads in good condition leads to injury, death, or loss to persons or property, the subdivision can be held liable as such. In order to bring forth a claim for damages against a political subdivision, an injured party must first file a notice of claim with the office of the Attorney General. The notice of claim must be filed at least 30 days before an official claim is filed, as found in Code Section 55-17-3.
Remember that all other personal injury laws apply, including the requirement to prove duty of care, negligence and breach of duty of care, causation, and damages.
Work with an Experienced West Virginia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle accidents have the potential to change your life, leaving you with serious injuries that affect you for years to come. One way to help you move forward with your life is to recover the full amount of damages that you deserve. At the law offices of Bailey, Javins, & Carter L.C., our experienced personal injury attorneys in West Virginia can help you to understand liability when poor road conditions were the cause of your accident, and how to file a claim to maximize your compensation amount. To learn more, contact us today for a free consultation or simply call us at 304-932-4639.