What Can I Do After a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect?

Auto Accident Lawyer

Potholes, cracks, uneven pavement seams, and other defective road conditions are a potential disaster for motorcycle riders. A car that hits a pothole at a high speed might blow a tire or sustain axle damage, but occupants will probably survive an ensuing crash. When motorcyclists hit a pothole at high speed, they are likely to be thrown from their bikes.

The state or local government responsible for maintaining a road can be held liable when it fails to respond to decaying road conditions. State laws vary, but when a road has been in poor condition for so long that the government must know about it, the government can be held responsible for failing to correct a known danger that causes a motorcycle accident.

When a motorcycle accident causes serious injury or death because of a road defect, injury victims and the families of deceased victims can take action. Here are the most important steps to take in the aftermath of the accident.

Medical Treatment After a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect

First and foremost, a motorcyclist should get prompt medical treatment after the accident. Trying to “tough it out” or “walk it off” invites disaster.

For example, a motorcyclist might hope that road rash will heal on its own. Maybe it will, but road rash is also prone to infection. Some infections caused by road rash have fatal consequences.

Other injuries can also be fatal if it is not diagnosed or treated promptly. What may see seem like a bump on the head or a chest bruise could conceal brain swelling or internal bleeding. By the time symptoms become severe, it may be too late to treat the injury.

Injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues are common outcomes of motorcycle accidents. Prompt treatment of those injuries, including physical therapy when needed, can speed recovery. Waiting too long to begin treatment or blowing off medical appointments may result in a long-term disability.

Obtaining prompt treatment and following all recommendations made by a treating doctor also improves the outcome of settlement negotiations. When victims of a serious injury delay treatment, insurance adjusters or government claims managers argue that any eventual treatment was probably unrelated to the accident.

When injury victims stop treating before the are released by a doctor, claims managers argue that the injury must have healed. To avoid being accused of making a fraudulent claim, it is vital to see a doctor right after the accident and to follow all medical recommendations until discharged from treatment.

Preserving Evidence After a Motorcycle Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect

Proving liability for a motorcycle accident caused by road conditions begins by proving that those conditions existed. Taking photographs of the pothole or other road defect before the government has a chance to make repairs will help your lawyer prove your case. Gathering the names of witnesses who saw the accident will make it possible for your lawyer to interview people who can testify at your trial. 

Preserving your motorcycle in its post-accident condition is also important. Don’t have the motorcycle repaired until your attorney can inspect the damage. At the very least, it will be important to take photographs of the damage. Your lawyer may also want to use the damaged motorcycle as an exhibit at trial.

In addition, if the government claims that your motorcycle accident was caused by a defect in the motorcycle, the government may have a right to inspect the motorcycle before any repairs are made. Depriving the government of that right could be harmful to your case.

An accident victim’s best option is to seek legal advice immediately after seeing a doctor. A motorcycle accident lawyer can explain the additional steps that should be taken to maximize the chance of making a successful injury claim.