Sometimes, when a car hits a motorcycle, the accident has less to do with poor driving than it does poor roadways.
For example, the jury in one recent case found that California’s Department of Transportation was responsible for the loss of a star athlete’s leg after he was hit while on his motorcycle at a dangerous intersection by a turning passenger vehicle. The athlete, who was a former UCLA football player, was awarded $35 million in damages when the jury agreed that the intersection where the accident occurred was negligently designed. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleged that Caltran knew that the intersection was a hazard and did nothing to correct the problem.
A negligently designed roadway can include things like confusing intersections with unclear lane boundaries, traffic lights that are poorly positioned and misleading or roads angled in a way that turning vehicles can’t see clearly in the opposing direction. There are other signs of poor planning and poor construction:
–Steep grades with no notification
–Shoulder drop-offs with no guardrails or other safety measures
–Hairpin curves or extremely sharp turns that could have been avoided through a different design
However, negligent design isn’t the only reason that a bad road can lead to a motorcycle accident. Negligent maintenance can also lead to devastating accidents:
–Asphalt that’s allowed to crack or crumble, leaving debris in the road
–Foliage that’s hiding traffic signs or allowed to grow where it obscures the visibility of drivers trying to turn on or off the main road
–Traffic signals that aren’t timed properly or are giving out conflicting signals
Because your losses after a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic, it’s important to hold the transportation department or any subcontractor used in the roadway design and maintenance responsible whenever it’s appropriate. That can allow you to recover far more in damages than an individual auto insurance policy is likely to cover.
For more information on how we approach motorcycle accident cases, please check out our web page on motor vehicle accidents.