Motorcycle riding, especially through the many beautiful vistas throughout Los Angeles County, can be a thrilling experience. But no matter how enjoyable it might be, it's impossible to avoid the fact that motorcycles are less stable and less protected than cars.
Motorcycles are nimbler, and it is easier to avoid obstacles that you can see – but a problem with the road that a four-wheeled vehicle would be able to just ignore can be extremely hazardous to a motorcycle. On top of that, as every rider knows, motorcycle accidents are inherently more dangerous than car accidents.
Motorcycles have no enclosure type of protection, low stability, and visibility issues results in a fatal accident 25 times more often than an auto related death. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by distracted or intoxicated drivers, but they can also occur from riding on a defective road. If you believe your accident was caused by a road defect in Los Angeles County, be sure to call the police to file a report. Make sure the police officer observes the defect in the road so they can include it in their report. Also, make sure you take pictures of the defective road condition from several different angles. If your motorcycle accident was caused by a defect in the road, you may be able to be compensated for damages and injuries. Call our Los Angeles personal injury law firm to review your case in order to determine legal options.
What are Road Defects?
Road defects can take many different forms. Most people will immediately think of a badly-maintained road which has cracked or which has potholes. However, there are many other types of road defects which can lead to accidents. Motorcycles, perhaps more than cars, rely on well-painted roads which clearly mark safe and unsafe areas to drive on, and if the lines on the road are not well-maintained, that can cause accidents. Roads can also simply be built defectively, using subpar materials, or not according to plans, leading to problems with the road surface which can cause an accident. And roads can be planned badly, built in such a way as to make visibility limited or including badly-placed banks or curves. All of these things can be extreme hazards for even the most careful motorcyclist. Some other examples of road defects that can be extremely dangerous for motorcyclists include the following:
- Inadequate drainage
- Overgrown vegetation
- Unmarked hazards
- Inadequate signage
- Shoulder drop-offs
- Missing guardrails
- Uneven pavement
- Poorly visible crosswalk
- Subpar materials used in construction
- Poor road design
- Improper maintenance
- Potholes or seams in the pavement
Who Is Responsible for Defective Roadways?
Who may be liable depends on the location of the accident. There may be a number of different government bodies responsible for a motorcycle accident caused by a defective roadway. If you were riding your motorcycle on the federal highway system, the federal government and the independent contractors hired to handle the design and construction could be held liable for your damages. If you were riding on a local or state road, then CalTrans or the local city municipality might be responsible for construction and maintenance of the roadway. There is a concept called “sovereign immunity” that prohibits citizens from filing lawsuits against a government entity. However, there are exceptions to this immunity when a government body has acted especially negligent. If you're Los Angeles personal injury attorney can prove the government entity knew about a serious road defect and had a reasonable amount of time to repair, then you may be able to file a claim for damages. Every motorcycle that was caused by a road defect in LA County has its own set of unique facts and circumstances. Therefore, you need to consult with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at our law firm to closely examine the details in order to determine potential legal options on recovering financial compensation.
Suing a Public Agency – The California Tort Claims Act
One major complication in recovering damages from an accident caused by a road defect is that, unlike in most liability suits, the defendant will be a government entity rather than a private party. Under most circumstances, citizens can't sue a state. However, the California Tort Claims Act provides for circumstances where the state can be sued, unsurprisingly, however, this law adds in a whole maze of problems, deadlines, and requirements. You will need to first file an administrative claim with the agency responsible (which of course requires that you know what agency IS responsible!) and if that is not accepted, then you will have the ability to file a suit in court. With many regulations and requirements, and one misstep potentially causing you to lose your right to file a claim, having an attorney with familiarity with filing tort claims suits can be critically helpful.
Motorcycle Crashes Caused by Road Defects Can Result in Serious Injuries
Motorcyclists are the most exposed motorists on the road, and when they are involved in accidents, they can be seriously hurt. Many motorcycle accident victims sustain injuries that will affect them for years or even decades, and some even are left with disabilities that prevent that from living independently or working. Some of the more serious injuries that motorcyclists can sustain in accidents caused by road defects include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Crush injuries
- Accidental amputations
- Facial fractures
- Serious soft tissue injuries
How Much is Your Case Worth?
Many people who are hurt in accidents caused by poorly designed or maintained roads want to know how much they will be able to recover. Each case is different, and there are many factors that will determine how much compensation you ultimately obtain, including the following:
- Whether you were partially at fault for your accident
- The severity of your injuries
- Your occupation
- Your prognosis
When you meet with one of our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers, we will evaluate your case and let you know how much you may expect to recover.
Call Us to Speak with an Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you have been injured, hire an attorney with the experience necessary for you to have peace of mind. The Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers of Injury Justice Law Firm LLP understand how to handle complicated tort claims cases and can make sure you're taken care of during this difficult time. Contact our law firm for a free consultation at 310-734-7974. Serving the greater Los Angeles area.