ABATE of Michigan
Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976
This past January, my column addressed the ever decreasing scope of liability that pertains to governmental agencies for accidents involving road defects. Aside from the issue of what types of road defects qualify as an actionable defect, one of the biggest issues in these types of cases is that the injured person must be able to prove that the governmental agency either knew or should have known of the existence of the defect and had a sufficient time to repair the defect before the injury took place. Such knowledge is conclusively presumed if it can be shown that the defect existed so as to be readily apparent to an ordinarily observant person for at least 30 days before the injury happened. This can be a very difficult element to prove as many times there are no witnesses who have personal knowledge as to how long a road defect has been there and there is a lack of records indicating that a governmental agency had any notice of the defect before the accident. This is especially the case in late Winter/early Spring where roads go through a freeze/thaw cycle where the condition of the pavement becomes prone to cracking and pot holes develop over a very short span of time.
Interestingly, there is a new bill which was introduced on March 2, 2017 which if passed could provide some assistance in exploring the notice element in road defect injury accidents. Senate Bill 210 requires the Michigan Department of Transportation to maintain an online database containing detailed information on every road repair project underway in the State of Michigan that is funded in any part by State revenue. Included in such information is the name of the road; description of the portion of the road that is the subject of the project; number of lane miles applicable to the project; number of miles applicable to the project; required design life between reconstruction projects; required interval between resurfacing projects; name and contact information of the project manager and those responsible for the construction; date of completion of the work; and the current condition of the road. The law would also require the Department to update the current status of the road at least once every 2 years.
This database could provide an added source of information that could be accessed to assist in determining how long before an accident a governmental agency may have known about a road defect that caused the accident. Certainly if the condition of the road is noted to be defective on a given date, and the accident happened subsequent to that date but before any repair work is done, it offers support for proving the notice requirement. This would provide great assistance in overcoming the notice requirement, which is usually the single biggest obstacle in pursuing an otherwise valid road defect claim.
As always, if anyone has any questions or if I can be of legal assistance to you or anyone you know who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I deal with these types of claims on a daily basis on behalf of injured motorcyclists statewide.
Further, if you would like to have me come out to your Region to speak or give a presentation on the legal rights of an injured motorcyclist or on any specific topic that your region may be curious about, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (248-569-4646) or shoot me an e-mail at Dondi@buckfirelaw.com. I give presentations to Regions state-wide and there is never a charge associated with having me out. I enjoy having the opportunity to come out and meet motorcycle enthusiasts from all parts of our State!
Dondi Vesprini firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 248 569-4646
ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
Constantine, Mi. 49042
Call: 269 435-2058