Because of negligent motorists and truck drivers, riding a motorcycle is dangerous enough. But sometimes riding a bike in Ohio is made even more dangerous by hazards created by construction and maintenance crews, or even the by the municipality itself. While those who negligently hurt others are generally accountable for the harm they cause, when the damage is caused by a city or its officials, this is not always so. In a recent Dayton area motorcycle accident case recently considered by Ohio’s Second District appellate court, the defendant city was able to escape paying for the damage it caused.
The defendants were a city and its service director. Because of their status as a governmental entity and governmental employee, the court ultimately ruled that they were protected from the plaintiff’s negligence lawsuit by so-called sovereign immunity.
Facts of the Case
In the case, the plaintiff was a motorcyclist who was injured when a vehicle going in the opposite direction lost control and hit a median that had been constructed by the defendant city and overseen by the defendant service director as part of an “entryway enhancement project.” Debris from the accident struck the plaintiff, throwing him to the pavement, causing serious injury. Significantly, while the accident occurred in 2014, the construction project was begun in 2009; another motorist struck the median in 2010, also sending debris into the oncoming lane. So the City was aware of the hazard and the problem. Continue reading