Whether you can recover damages for road conditions depends on the situation. You can’t file a claim against nature, but if dangerous road conditions were caused by someone’s actions or a municipality’s failure to maintain safe roadways, you might be able to recover compensation.
Fog and rain don’t carry liability insurance, but local city and state governments do.
Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Against the Government for Dangerous Road Conditions?
In many cases you can, but special rules may apply to your claim. Governments sometimes have what’s known as sovereign immunity or government immunity.
Most states also have different rules regarding deadlines for filing. In many cases you’ll be required to first file a Notice of Claim before an actual lawsuit, and the deadline may be weeks or months instead of years. The Notice of Claim deadline can range from a month to several months depending on the rules of the city, county or state.
Rules can be a bit confusing. For example, West Virginia Code §55-17-3 says in part, “… at least thirty days prior to the institution of an action against a government agency, the complaining party or parties must provide the chief officer of the government agency and the Attorney General written notice, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the alleged claim and the relief desired.”
In Virginia, §8.01-195.6 states, “Every claim cognizable against the Commonwealth or a transportation district shall be forever barred unless the claimant or his agent, attorney or representative has filed a written statement of the nature of the claim, which includes the time and place at which the injury is alleged to have occurred and the agency or agencies alleged to be liable, within one year after such cause of action accrued.”
South Carolina modified their process for suing the government in 1986 with the South Carolina Torts Claims Act. Prior to the act government employees were essentially immune to liability, which means if they didn’t fix potholes or streetlights and you were injured in a serious accident as a result, you would have littler recourse.
South Carolina’s current law allows some liability claims to be dismissed outright. Section §15-78-80 states in part, “In all cases in which a claim is filed, the State Fiscal Accountability Authority or political subdivision has one hundred eighty days from the date of filing of the claim in which to determine whether the claim should be allowed or disallowed. Failure to notify the claimant of action upon the claim within one hundred eighty days from the date of filing of the claim is considered a disallowance of the claim.”
South Carolina’s act also established a $300,000 maximum limit on compensation per person or up to $600,000 per accident. The good news is those limits are significantly higher than the state’s minimum auto accident bodily injury liability insurance requirements of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
South Carolina’s law is similar to many other states in that it gives government wide latitude for certain types of injury causes, especially if the injury occurred due to what it considers to be a vital societal role, like enforcement of court orders or laws, tax collections or judicial actions.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Dangerous Road Conditions?
Holding a government agency or employee responsible for injuries that result from unsafe or dangerous road conditions isn’t always simple or easy. There are extra steps you’ll need to take and quite a few rules the government’s attorneys can use to potentially dodge liability.
Working with a skilled motorcycle injury law firm that understands both the difficulties inherent with motorcycle accident cases and the unique rules that apply to claims against the government may increase your chance for making a full recovery.
Contact Tom McGrath’s Motorcycle Law Group, The Firm that Rides, for a free, no-obligation case evaluation by calling 1-855-LAW-RIDERS (855-529-7433).