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Can the state be sued following a motorcycle accident?

Most people in New Mexico can point to at least one road in their area that is in poor shape. A previous post on this blog talked about how a family sued a branch of government in the State of New Mexico following a fatal accident that, at least initially, was thought to have been caused by potholes in the road.

While it might come as a bit of a surprise to Albuquerque residents, the law of the state specifically allows Albuquerque residents and other citizens of this state to sue the state for negligent road maintenance if the road was the responsibility of state employees. The state has allowed such suits as an exception to the general rule that state governments cannot be sued.

There are some exceptions to this right to sue. For instance, while victims can sue when the road is not properly maintained, they cannot sue for an inherent design flaw in the road, nor may they sue simply because a particular road, bridge or the like has not been built or re-built. Still, this right to sue is an important one for any motorist who has been injured in an accident in this state to remember, as it gives them an additional source of compensation after they have suffered serious injuries in a crash.

The right is particularly important to motorcyclists who have suffered serious injuries in connection with motorcycle accidents that were caused by a poorly maintained road. Motorcycles are more sensitive to problems on the surface a highway. Conditions that might cause a minor bump for one traveling in a passenger car can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of his or her bike and crash. Still, state officials can and should anticipate that motorcyclists will travel on the roads of this state and should maintain the roads accordingly.

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