A Rainy Ride: Johnny’s Harrowing Encounter with Road Defects
Johnny, a devoted biker from Iowa, loves the open road. With two decades of experience on two wheels, he’s an experienced rider. Biking for John isn’t just a hobby—it’s his way of life, his passion, his freedom.
Preparing for the Romper Room Rally, John set out on one of his usual rides across the State on a warm summer day in 2022. The forecast promised nothing but clear skies, and the weather was perfect. Donning his helmet and revving his engine, he felt the familiar rush of adrenaline as he set out onto the open road.
Dark clouds loomed in the distance as he made his way down the winding rural roads he knew so well. He thought about pulling over to let the storm pass. Confident in his riding abilities from years of navigating Iowa’s unpredictable weather, John decided to push on, figuring he could beat the storm.
He had ridden safely in rain more times than he could count, and this time, he believed, wouldn’t be any different.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t outrun the storm.
A sudden, intense downpour began, reducing visibility and making the road slick.
As he cautiously navigated a turn, his headlight illuminated a large, water-filled pothole directly in his path. The sudden obstacle left him little room to maneuver, despite his quick reactions and years of experience.
His bike hit the pothole, throwing him off balance and causing him to skid across the slick road.
John learned later in the hospital that he had suffered multiple injuries, including a broken leg. The medical bills started piling up during his long and painful recovery.
He was devastated. Sitting in the hospital bed, he remembered something important—this accident wasn’t just bad luck. It was the result of poor road conditions that should have been addressed.
Water pooling on the roadways and other road defects might seem like minor inconveniences to drivers of larger automobiles, but they can pose significant dangers to motorcyclists. They can induce loss of control or cause a dangerous imbalance, especially if the water is deep enough to affect the rotation or angle of the motorcycle wheels.
Even shallow water can reduce tire traction, potentially causing skids and accidents. These hazardous conditions should not exist on our roadways, as entities responsible for road maintenance are tasked with ensuring their safety.
The Risk of Water Pooling on Roadways
Under ideal conditions, water should never be allowed to pool on the roadways.
But due to various factors, this issue can occur, putting motorcyclists at an elevated risk of serious injury.
Some of these factors include:
- Large potholes that collect water
- Poorly engineered roadways resulting in low-lying areas susceptible to flooding
- Inadequate preparation for inclement weather
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these.
Large Potholes That Collect Water
Potholes form due to a combination of water, weather, and wear and tear. When water seeps into cracks in the pavement, it can erode the road base. This issue is often made worse by cold weather conditions, as the water can freeze, expand, and cause the asphalt to crack.
Over time, repeated freeze-thaw cycles and the impact of vehicles passing over the weakened area can create large potholes.
When these potholes collect water, they become especially dangerous for motorcyclists. The water can obscure the depth and size of the pothole, making it more likely that motorcyclists will hit them unknowingly.
A sudden encounter with a pothole can cause a motorcyclist to lose control, leading to serious accidents.
Poorly Engineered Roadways Resulting in Low-Lying Areas Susceptible to Flooding
Poorly engineered or constructed roadways can create low-lying areas that collect water. These can occur due to improper road grading, inadequate drainage, or a lack of maintenance.
Water naturally moves to the lowest point due to gravity, so any depressions or dips in the road will collect water, especially during heavy rain.
These low-lying areas are hazardous for motorcyclists as they can lead to hydroplaning, where a layer of water comes between the road and the tire, reducing traction and control.
Additionally, if these areas are large or deep enough, they can result in a motorcyclist hitting a body of water at speed, leading to potential loss of control and accidents.
Inadequate Preparation for Inclement Weather
Inadequate preparation for inclement weather, such as not properly clearing drainage channels or failing to maintain the road surface, can result in water pooling on the roads. Rain, snow, and other forms of precipitation can quickly overwhelm under-maintained drainage systems, leading to standing water on the roadways.
This standing water poses significant risks to motorcyclists. In addition to the issues mentioned above like hydroplaning and obscured road defects, heavy rain can reduce visibility, making it harder for motorcyclists to see and avoid water hazards. In extreme cases, water can even cause a motorcycle’s engine to stall if it gets too deep.
Each of these issues represents a clear danger to motorcyclists, reinforcing the importance of maintaining and properly engineering our roadways.
At The Biker Lawyers, our legal team understands the dangers posed by these conditions and is committed to helping motorcyclists recover damages if they suffer accidents due to water pooling on roadways. One question we’ve been asked is who do you hold responsible if you have been injured as a result of roadway defects?
“But you can’t sue the Government… can you?”
It is true that the government is immune from many types of roadway liability. Many of the types of roadway issues we have been discussing, however, are caused by private contractors hired by the government. To the extent your crash was caused by the inadequate work of a private contractor, your chances of recovery are much better than if the government is responsible.
However, successfully bringing a claim against these entities can be complex.
Government entities often have certain immunities or protections from lawsuits, and proving liability can involve demonstrating negligence in the maintenance of the road or failure to adequately address a known problem.
Documentation of the condition of the road, witness testimony, accident reports, and other forms of evidence can all play a crucial role in these cases.
Also, timeframes known as “statutes of limitations” often apply to these claims, meaning there’s a limited period after the accident during which a lawsuit can be filed.
Given these complexities, we highly suggest you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate these legal challenges.
Your Legal Recourse
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident caused by hitting pooled water on the roadway, you need to understand your legal rights and evaluate if you have a solid case.
We know how you feel. The responsible parties must be held accountable. The problem is that each case is unique and present their own challenges to consider. Once we evaluate your case, our road defect attorneys at The Biker Lawyers can help let you know your options. That may include sitting down to develop a legal strategy aimed at helping you recover damages associated with your injuries.
Discussing the specifics of your accident with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers can be the first step toward ensuring justice and fair compensation.
To set up a consultation, call our offices at (877) 209-9452 or click here for a free case evaluation.
So whatever happened to John?
John decided to fight.
With the help of the Biker Lawyers, he was able to pursue a case against those responsible for the road’s upkeep. It was a tough battle, but his determination and the skilled advocacy of his attorneys gave him hope.
John’s story serves as a stark reminder of the real-life consequences of ignored road defects and the importance of holding those responsible accountable.
Don’t Let Water Pooling Injuries Sink You
Injuries sustained from motorcycle accidents due to water pooling can result in substantial medical bills, making you feel like you’re drowning in debt.
Don’t navigate these choppy waters alone. Contact The Biker Lawyers today, and let us help you stay afloat.