Operating a motorcycle can be inherently dangerous, but when the condition of the highway puts motorcyclists at a much higher risk, then the government should be held responsible for any resulting injuries or death. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate your way through litigation if you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of highway conditions.
Iowa woman sues after her husband was killed
An Iowa woman recently filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Transportation for the death of her husband. The motorcycle accident occurred on a local highway where there was an unnecessarily steep drop-off between the paved highway and the gravel shoulder. The Iowa Department of Transportation was responsible for maintaining the highway in a safe condition. The woman alleges that it was the Department’s negligence that resulted in the dangerous road condition which killed her husband.
Claims against the state required administrative action first
As with nearly legal claims against a governmental entity, a negligence claim against the state Department of Transportation requires the claimants file an administrative claim first before a lawsuit can be filed in court. This is known as exhausting administrative remedies. If this step is not taken before a lawsuit is filed, the court is likely to dismiss the claim.
The purpose of exhausting administrative remedies
The purpose of the administrative remedies requirement is to minimize the burden on courts by possibly resolving some disputes within the appropriate administrative agency. The agency will typically require that the claimant files a petition and attend a hearing where evidence of the claim is submitted to the agency officials. If necessary, an appeal can also be filed with the agency, if the claimant is not satisfied with the decision.
Is the exhaustion of administrative remedies always required?
There are a few exceptions to the administrative remedies requirement. For instance, the requirement can be waived if the available administrative remedy is clearly inadequate. Another exception may be available if the administrative procedures themselves would lead to an unreasonable delay, or if the alleged conduct clearly exceeded the scope of the agency’s authority. You should discuss your situation with your motorcycle accident attorney if you have any questions about the administrative process so that you can be sure to preserve your legal rights.
What outcome can you expect if you are injured in a motorcycle accident?
Predicting possible outcomes of a motorcycle accident can be a challenge, particularly because the jury will ultimately make the decision as to how much money you deserve. There are tangible damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages, which can be more easily anticipated. However, other less tangible damages, like “pain and suffering,” cannot really be predicted. Estimates can only be based on awards obtained in similar motorcycle accident cases.
The importance of knowing general motorcycle safety
If you want to minimize your risk of being injured in a motorcycle accident, the best thing to do is educate yourself on general motorcycle safety. This is especially true if you are new to motorcycle riding. In fact, if you haven’t already, it would be wise to complete a basic riding course. It is also crucial that you obtain the appropriate safety gear. Wearing bright colors when traveling on the roadway will increase the chances that other drivers on the highway will notice you.
Although motorcycles may not provide the best protection in an accident, they have powerful brakes, excellent handling, obstruction-free vision, and tires with an extraordinary grip. If you can manage to stay calm and use common sense, you can increase the likelihood of being injured in a serious motorcycle accident.
How common are motorcycle fatalities?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 nearly 4,700 motorcyclists were killed as a result of motorcycle accidents. This was a 2% increase from the prior year. A recent study performed by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), shows that motorcycle deaths increased nearly 9% in 2012. This was the highest overall traffic fatality increase reported, following a steady trend over the last 15 years. Regrettably, motorcycle riders are still one of the few groups of motorists that have shown no progress in increasing safety, over the last decade.
If you have questions regarding motorcycle accidents or any other personal injury concerns in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a consultation, either online or by calling us as (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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