Who Do I Sue If a Dangerous Road Condition caused my Bicycle Accident in Kentucky?
The answer to that question can be a bit complex depending on the facts in your case. If a government agency or entity is responsible for the hazard that caused your bicycle accident, you may be able to sue the government for compensation. Who you sue depends on whether the Commonwealth or a local municipality was in control of the road where your accident occurred. Under Kentucky law, any claim against the state must be filed with the Board of Claims before a lawsuit is filed. Because the state and local municipalities have different laws regarding filing claims, it is best to consult with a Kentucky car accident attorney. Our attorneys have experience filing claims against the government, and we can provide the support, guidance, and resources you need as you seek compensation for your injuries. Don’t fight the government alone — let our attorneys stand up for your right to be treated fairly after a bicycle accident.
Filing Bicycle Accident Claims Against the Commonwealth of Kentucky
If your bicycle crash occurred on a state-maintained road, your claim would be filed with the Board of Claims. In most cases, the Commonwealth has sovereign immunity from being sued. In other words, you cannot sue the government. However, KRS §44.072 specifically waives sovereign immunity for claims involving injury due to negligence. Therefore, if you can prove that the state was negligent in its duty of care to construct and maintain safe roads, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries.
Before you can file a lawsuit, you must file a written claim with the Board of Claims. KRS §44.070 gives jurisdiction to the Board of Claims to hear claims arising from allegations of negligence against the state, its agencies, entities, and employees. You must file your claim within one year from the date of the bicycle accident and prove that the negligence resulted in your crash and injuries. Common dangerous conditions or road hazards that give rise to a claim include:
- Defective road design that results in dangerous intersections, curves, or hills
- Missing, broken, or defective traffic lights, signals, or signs
- Improper road maintenance or lack of maintenance
- Failure to maintain the shoulder of the road allowing foliage, trees, or shrubs to encroach on the road
- Missing or broken guardrails and warning sign
- Failure to warn of road construction
- Road debris from construction or maintenance
- Uneven pavement, potholes, and cracked pavement
Compensation for claims against the Commonwealth is capped at $200,000 per person and $350,000 per incident. You may not receive compensation for pain and suffering damages. If the Board denies your claim, you may file a request for appeal to the circuit court for claims over $1,000.
Claims Against a Kentucky Municipality for Road Hazard Accidents
For roads maintained by local governments, you must file your lawsuit against the municipality responsible for the road in question. KRS §§65.2001 through 65.2006 govern claims against local governments in Kentucky. Unlike claims filed against the state, local governments are not protected by sovereign immunity in Kentucky, and there are no caps on compensation. However, your compensation can be reduced under Kentucky’s comparative negligence laws if you are found to be partially at fault for your accident.
One note to remember, if your bicycle crash is caused by a faulty or improperly maintained traffic control device, your claim may be against the state. Under KRS §44.071, any claims against a municipality related to a state-owned traffic control device must be filed with the Board of Claims. These claims are subject to the same standards and rules as any other claim filed against the Commonwealth.
Because road hazard accident claims against a government entity can be very tricky, we urge you to consult with our Kentucky accident attorney as soon as possible. You need to learn about your rights and legal options quickly to protect your right to recover maximum compensation for your damages.