Client Skidded on Rocks in Roadway

Kenneth J. Halperin represented a motorcycle driver in upstate New York who was ejected from his motorcycle when he ran over a patch of small rocks in a roadway, causing him to lose control of his bike. Ken initiated a very difficult suit against a rural upstate municipality alleging that it failed to properly design the roadway gutters and drains and also failed to properly maintain the road. During the course of discovery we conducted multiple depositions and were able to prove that after a rainstorm several days prior to the accident, the County failed to follow their own internal guidelines and State regulations regarding inspecting their roadways. We also showed through expert testimony that the roadway gutters were improperly designed because rain caused the rocks which filled the gutters to spread across the roadway rather than towards the embankment, causing the unsafe condition on which our client spun out. It also helped our case that a storm drain in the area of the accident had grass growing out of it, indicating a lack of maintenance in the area.

At the conclusion of discovery the County moved for summary judgment, which is frequently granted in these cases because of the high burden of proof required to prove negligence against municipalities in roadway design cases. Ken accumulated enough evidence to make this one of those rare cases in which their motion for summary judgment was denied and the case was ordered to proceed to trial.

As a result of the accident the plaintiff sustained a fracture to his talus, which required surgery, a fractured clavicle and bi-lateral tears of his rotator cuffs. This case settled during jury selection for $200,000.

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