Because of some poorly maintained public roads, a motorist in West Virginia may not need to travel far from home to experience a catastrophic accident. The local government or its entities, however, may face legal action for injuries that are a direct result of cracked sidewalks, ruptured water mains and defective streets. In Monongalia County, a poorly-repaired pothole caused a motorcyclist to lose control, as reported by WDTV 5. While the motorcyclist is in the hospital recovering from serious injuries, his family is attempting to cope with the full extent of what happened.

On his daughter’s birthday, the 74-year-old man rode his motorcycle into Monongalia County from Blacksville as part of the celebration. On the way, he hit a pothole purportedly filled with gravel on Little Indian Creek Road. When he hit the hole, the man’s bike went out from under him and his body thrown across the road into the left lane.

The motorcycle slid past him and he ended up with an assortment of serious injuries. The man suffered a broken knee bone, ankle and scapula. He also fractured his ribs and suffered road rash. His family is convinced that he would not have crashed if it were not for the poorly-repaired pothole.

When a loved one suffers an accident in a public area through no fault of their own, a family has the legal right to seek compensation from the local or county government for any damages. For motorcycle, pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents that occur as a result of faulty streets, claims may be filed with the state’s Department of Transportation.

Through its Division of Highways, there is a duty of care to maintain West Virginia’s public roads to ensure motorists’ safety. When the DOH fails in carrying out its duty, a harmed individual may obtain compensation to cover losses from the injuries suffered. This may include expenses for medical care and surgeries, physical therapy sessions and lost wages resulting from a preventable accident.