Bad road conditions are a contributing factor in serious bike accidents. However, cyclists don’t know that they have the right to sue municipalities for poor or inadequately maintained roads. It is difficult to prove that the responsible party was at fault for the bad design, potholes, missing safety features or other road defects that led to the accident.
Who can be held responsible for poor road maintenance?
Road maintenance is the responsibility of states, counties, towns and cities within their respective jurisdictions. However, multiple parties may be responsible for maintaining a highly traveled roadway. A state agency may be responsible for general road maintenance, such as fixing potholes or erosion, while the council of the city might be responsible to de-icing the road.
When you want to hold the responsible party accountable for a bike accident that was caused by bad road conditions, the first thing to do is to find the person at fault. If you’re not certain who is responsible for the poor road conditions, you can file a civil lawsuit against any of the agencies.
Next, you must prove that the party or parties at fault acted with gross negligence and knowingly. A government agency might have known about cyclist safety hazards and had the resources to correct them, but they didn’t do anything. Poorly designed roads can also put cyclists’ lives at risk.
The final step is to establish a cause-and effect relationship between road conditions and the accident that caused your injuries or property damage. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with this.
Can I sue the government for my bike accident?
A cyclist may sue the municipality if they are injured or property is damaged in a bicycle accident.
The truth is that government agencies are not subject to prosecution unless the agency has consented or waived immunity. This immunity has been waived by many federal and state agencies. A claimant must complete an administrative claim process before filing a civil suit.
Most claims against the government can be settled by reaching a settlement. This was the case with the California cyclist who sustained severe injuries when he fell off his bike from a pothole. To settle the lawsuit, the city council awarded him $6.5million.
After a cable of metal was strung across a path in a Portland park, a cyclist sued the city. He suffered severe injuries and had to pay $86,000 in medical bills. The $85,000 lost income was due to the time he took off work to recover. According to the lawsuit, a city worker placed the cable on the path to close it off to the public. However, he failed to clearly mark it.
Your state’s regulations will determine your chances of winning a lawsuit. Some municipalities have lowered their liability by restricting the circumstances in which you can file a claim. For example, the requirement that the city’s negligence must be “gross.”
You can only file a claim against one city, county or state within a very short time period. Therefore, you should report the incident as soon as you can to the appropriate government agency. You should research the responsible party to which you are seeking compensation as the procedure differs between government agencies.
What are the odds of winning a law suit against the government?
Federal and state agencies are immune from prosecution, unless they have been declared otherwise under “sovereign immunity,” an old legal doctrine that was created to protect kings against being brought to trial for their misconduct. The doctrine states that a sovereign cannot be sued in civil or penal court unless he/she agrees to be sued.
In many places around the globe, sovereign immunity is still valid today. Without the approval of the government, you might not be allowed to sue them. The Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) in the United States allows citizens to sue the federal government for negligence or wrongful acts of its employees. This is the same as a citizen.
The FTCA allows citizens to sue state agencies at the state level. However, there are some limitations as states can pass their own laws. You should check the laws of your home state regarding negligence when you file a personal injuries claim against a local agency or municipality.
Some states allow residents to sue local governments for a variety of reasons. However, some states have stricter laws and you may not be able to hold state agencies responsible at all. There are a few exceptions. Michigan’s government agencies and employees are exempt from civil liability, except for the maintenance of public highways.
You can sue the government agency that maintained the road in which your bike accident occurred. However, this can be a difficult process as many agencies have established various requirements before you can file a lawsuit.
It is best to speak with a professional in such situations, such as a bicycle accident attorney. Click here for more information. An attorney can help you determine if you are entitled to any compensation or what your chances of winning a case against the government.