Potholes are caused by ordinary wear and tear, as well as poor weather conditions. Although potholes are often caused by nature, they are the responsibility of the town, city, or state responsible for the maintenance of the road. Once a pothole begins, it can grow rapidly. Rainwater causes potholes to expand, and unsuspecting drivers who run over a small pothole can cause it to grow in size. When deep enough, potholes can cause impacts comparable to a thirty-five mile per hour crash. For motorcyclists, the danger is even more evident. Motorcyclists can be thrown from their bikes or forced off the roadway, causing severe personal injuries and even death.
Karen Nightingale was 53-years-old and recently married to husband Jared Nightingale when she was killed. The couple had then only been married for six weeks, and were riding their motorcycles to visit friends and look at a house they were thinking of purchasing in Manchester, Maine. It was about 4:30 PM on July 6, 2014 when the devastating crash occurred. Karen was rushed to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries just over a week later. According to Jared’s lawsuit, his wife’s fatal accident was caused by the city of Augusta, Maine’s failure to inspect and repair a dangerous pothole on Western Avenue.
Jared is seeking an unspecified amount in damages on his own behalf, as well as on behalf of his wife’s estate. Pursuant to Maine’s pothole law, municipalities can be sued when failure to repair road defects causes injuries. Because Jared witnessed his wife’s fatal accident, he may be able to recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress as a spouse who witnessed the injuries first-hand.
According to Jared’s lawsuit, Karen’s motorcycle hit the pothole, causing her to be thrown from her bike. The pothole at the center of the lawsuit was reportedly measured at twenty-eight inches long, sixteen inches wide, and five to eight inches deep. There had been construction on Western Avenue earlier in the week, and rain the previous days is suspected to have increased the size of the pothole. As reported by Central Maine News, the city of Augusta may have been on notice of the pothole’s existence more than twenty-four hours before the crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call 617-787-3700 today for your free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Boston, Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorneys.