Although many bicycle accidents occur on roadways and involve motor vehicles, accidents also occur along bike paths and trails. In some cases, poorly maintained bike paths and trails may contribute to or directly cause bicycle accidents. When this situation occurs, people often wonder if they can sue the local or state government or another public entity that is responsible for inspecting and maintaining these common routes for bicyclists.
Historically, people could not sue governments or governmental entities for personal injuries that they received. The California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), however, made significant changes to the immunity that governmental bodies traditionally enjoyed. Now, governmental entities are not immune from lawsuits, except where specific statutes make them immune in certain situations. The California legislature has enacted many statutes that might apply to bike accidents that occur on bike paths and trails.
For instance, Cal. Civ. Pro. Code § 846 provides immunity to governmental bodies that are in charge of maintaining recreational areas. Although there are some exceptions to this general immunity rule, such as for acts of gross negligence, the legislature deemed this immunity as necessary to allow public use of these spaces. Otherwise, the risk of liability would be too high.
Although it is possible to hold a government entity liable for injuries sustained while riding on a bike path or trail, it requires a higher standard of proof. For instance, if a city maintains a bike path that has an unmarked hazardous condition that creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of injuries, the city could face liability in a personal injury claim by the injured bicyclist. However, the injured party must have evidence showing that the government knew or should have known about the hazard to trigger its duty to warn or remedy the problem.
If you sustain injuries in a bicycle accident, you may greatly benefit from calling us today and getting the advice that you need. Bonnici Law Group has the experience and knowledge that is invaluable when pursuing a personal injury claim stemming from a bicycle accident. When you need answers, contact Bonnici Law Group today at 619-259-5199. As we focus our efforts on personal injury cases involving bicycles and long-term disability claims, we know how to protect your rights and build a strong demand for compensation in your case.