Filing an Injury Claim Against the State of Ohio for Bicycle Crash Road Conditions
Poor road conditions, like potholes, faulty designs, uncovered utility holes, and trenches with no barriers can cause a cyclist’s serious injury. But trying to seek compensation for these injuries can be complicated and in some states, impossible. In Ohio, bicyclists can sue responsible government entities for negligence in road maintenance and repair.
Who is responsible?
City, county, and state entities have different maintenance responsibilities for certain roadways, and these may be shared by more than one government agency.
You must figure out which agency is responsible as sometimes more than one entity may be responsible for the roadway your accident occurred on. And then prove that agency knew or should have known about the hazard and should have taken measures to prevent accidents such as repairing the road or preventing the danger.
Road crews and the entity that employs them must ensure that roadways stay safe for vehicles while a site is being constructed or maintained. Regulations require this is done through signage, keeping thru-traffic areas clear and safe, and closing dangerous areas. When crews fail to follow these regulations, the company that employes the crew may be liable. For example, a road crew was tearing up a section of roadway and didn’t post signage that warned riders and drivers of the dangerous condition of the road. A man riding a bicycle crashed when he hit this section of the roadway at night, breaking his back which resulted in him being paralyzed from the waist down. The company that was hired to work on the road may be liable for the bicyclist’s severe injury and the damage to his bike.
Trying to seek compensation for injuries suffered in a bicycle crash caused by hazardous road condition is challenging, and you will have to prove multiple facts including –
- There was a hazardous road condition that the entity knew about or should have known about, and
- That road conditions caused your accident and resulting injury, and
- The agency responsible for maintaining the road was negligent (failed a duty to provide safe roadway) or failed to adequately warn riders of a potential hazard, and
- The agency is allowed to be sued in court, and
- The statute of limitations has not run out
If the government entity who is responsible for the road did not know about a road hazard, they might not be held liable for your injuries. For example, riders and drivers had been complaining about a dangerous road for months, knowing the situation was an accident waiting to happen. In this case, the government has been put on notice about a hazard and may be liable for accidents, injuries, and property damage caused by their neglect of the road. However, if a pothole just formed and no one has complained about it yet, the government may not be liable for injuries and losses caused by that hazard.