Earlier this month, the Oregon Supreme Court issued an opinion in favor of a motorcycle accident plaintiff who was injured when another driver struck him at what he claimed to be a known dangerous intersection. In the case, Turner v. Department of Transportation, the court allowed the plaintiff’s claims against the city and county governments, alleging that the entities were negligent in failing to remedy an intersection known to be dangerous.
Back in 2008, one of the defendants was making a left turn from a street onto a larger highway when she struck the plaintiff, who was riding a motorcycle. The plaintiff had the right-of-way. The plaintiff suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident and filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver of the car that hit him as well as several government entities in charge of maintaining the road.
Relevant to this case, the plaintiff claimed that the government entities should have done something to fix what was known to be a dangerous intersection. Evidently, drivers making a left from the street onto the highway had a greatly reduced line of sight, and previous accidents had been caused in the same manner as the one in this case.
The government entities sought dismissal of the case based on their sovereign immunity, which protects government entities when they are performing discretionary functions. The government argued that there was a limited amount of funds available for highway repairs, and the government had to choose which places needed repair the most. The plaintiff responded that the government entities had other methods of securing funds to make necessary highway repairs, and they knew this particular intersection was dangerous but failed to do anything.
The Court’s Opinion
The court began its analysis by explaining that governments are entitled to immunity when they are engaging in discretionary acts, which are defined as those that are “the result of a choice among competing policy considerations,” but immunity does not apply to “routine decisions made by employees in the course of their day-to-day activities.” The court then considered the arguments of the parties and found the plaintiff’s argument more convincing. Specifically, the court found that there were other methods for implementing a repair than the system on which the government primarily relied, and the government entities failed to produce adequate evidence to convince the court otherwise. Therefore, the government was not entitled to immunity, and the plaintiff’s case should be allowed to proceed.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Regardless of whether there were any other drivers involved, you may have a case against the government entity in charge of maintaining the road, although these cases can be difficult to prove, given the government’s general immunity from tort lawsuits. The skilled attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience helping their clients overcome these hurdles and seek the compensation they deserve. Call 410-654-3600 today to set up a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Family of Fatal Motorcycle Accident Victim Takes Issue with the Determined Cause of the Accident, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published May 19, 2016.
State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Insurance Company in Multi-Vehicle Motorcycle Accident, Greatly Limiting Victims’ Damages, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published April 19, 2016.