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Was Your Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Road Defect?

Posted by Inna Gorin | Aug 14, 2017

Motorcycle riding, primarily 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.

Motorcycle Accidents Caused by a Road Defect

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 just to 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 result in a fatal accident 25 times more often than an auto-related death.

Distracted or intoxicated drivers cause many motorcycle accidents, but they can also occur from riding on the wrong 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 to include it in their report. Also, make sure you take pictures of the defective road condition from several different angles. If a defect in the road caused your motorcycle accident, you might be able to be compensated for damages and injuries.

Call our Los Angeles personal injury law firm to review your case 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 that has cracked or potholes.

However, many other types of road defects can lead to accidents. Motorcycles, perhaps more than cars, rely on well-painted roads which 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 defective materials, or not according to plans, leading to problems with the road surface, which can cause an accident.

And roads can be poorly planned, built in such a way as to make visibility limited or include badly-placed banks or curves. 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. Several different government bodies may be 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, Caltrans or the local city municipality might be responsible for constructing and maintaining the roadway.

A concept called “sovereign immunity” prohibits citizens from filing lawsuits against a government entity. However, there are exceptions to this immunity when a government body has acted incredibly negligent.

If your injury attorney can prove the government entity knew about a severe road defect and had a reasonable amount of time to repair it, then you may be able to file a claim for damages.

Every motorcycle caused by a road defect in LA County has its own set of unique facts and circumstances.

Therefore, you need to consult with a lawyer at our law firm to closely examine the details to determine potential legal options for 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 the defendant will be a government entity rather than a private party, unlike most liability suits. Under most circumstances, citizens can't sue a state.

However, the California Tort Claims Act provides circumstances where the state can be sued; unsurprisingly, this law adds a whole maze of problems, deadlines, and requirements.

You will need first to 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, 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 familiar 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 severe 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
  • Concussions

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 recover.

Each case is different, and many factors 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.

If you have been injured, hire an attorney with the experience necessary to have peace of mind. The personal injury attorneys at Injury Justice Law Firm 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. We are serving the greater Los Angeles area.

About the Author

Inna Gorin

Inna Gorin, the founding Partner of Injury Justice Law Firm modeled the Firm after her ideals and principles of what skilled, aggressive and tenacious representation of individual clients should embody. Ms. Gorin's mission is to level the playing field, and provide her clients with the same level...


If you have been injured in an accident, our experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys will protect your legal rights and help you recover compensation for your injuries. We are available 24/7 for your risk free initial consultation in Beverly Hills, Encino, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Lancaster, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Santa Monica, San Fernando Valley, Valencia and Ventura County areas.