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What to Do If My Bicycle Accident Was the City’s Fault

Posted on June 21, 2022 in

In Oregon, bicycle accidents are relatively common. These accidents can occur due to dangerous driving behaviors, poor visibility, and defective parts. However, some accidents occur due to the negligence of the city government.

If your accident occurred due to the negligence of a city government, you have the right to hold the agency accountable for your losses. However, filing a Portland bicycle accident claim against a government agency is very different from pursuing legal action against a private driver or manufacturer.

Here is what to do if your bicycle accident was the city’s fault.

portland bicycle accident city liability

When Is a Bicycle Accident the Fault of a City?

Many bicycle accidents occur due to inclement weather, broken bicycle parts, and driver negligence, such as speeding or failure to yield the right of way. In some cases, the negligence of a government entity is responsible for a collision.

Municipal government agencies have a duty to ensure that roads are in safe condition and designed properly. If any hazards arise, the agency must respond to them within a reasonable timeframe and adequately warn cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians of the potential danger.

Unfortunately, not all government agencies uphold these duties. Bicycle accidents can occur due to the following hazards:

  • Potholes
  • Cracked or uneven roads
  • Traffic light outages
  • Loose gravel
  • Improperly designed roads
  • Roadways that cross railroad tracks
  • Improperly installed sewer grates

Pursuing a Claim Against a City Government in Oregon

If you are injured in a bicycle accident and the negligence of the city government is responsible for your collision, you have the right to pursue a claim against the at-fault agency. While some government entities are immune from litigation, Oregon allows injured citizens to pursue injury claims as long as they meet certain criteria.

Before filing a lawsuit against a city government, you must provide a notice of claim to the agency. You must provide this notice within 180 days of the date of the accident and submit the relevant paperwork required by the appropriate agency.

Damages in claims against the Oregon government are limited. According to the Oregon Torts Claims Act, these settlement limits change each year and are determined by the Office of the State Court Administrator. 

A new set of settlement limitations have gone into effect beginning on July 1st, 2022, and will remain in effect until June 30, 2023. These caps are as follows:

  • For injury or death claims filed by a single claimant against a local government, compensation is capped at $806,100. 
  • If the accident involves multiple claimants, settlements for claims against the local government are capped at $1,612,000.
  • For claims involving property damage or destruction filed by a single claimant against a state or local agency, the settlement limit is $132,200.
  • For property damage claims involving multiple claimants, compensation is capped at $661,000.

Speak to a Portland Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Pursuing a claim against a government agency can be a major challenge. These lawsuits are governed by different rules and requirements than cases against private individuals or companies. In these situations, you need an attorney with experience holding government agencies accountable.

A lawyer can guide you through each stage of your case and help you comply with the various laws surrounding claims against the government. As soon as possible following your accident, contact an Oregon bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your next steps.