Court Decides Whether 30-Day Notice Requirement Applies in Bicycle Accident Case

If you have been injured in a mishap that was someone else’s fault, you can potentially recover monetary damages through a personal injury lawsuit. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates, P.C., our diligent Massachusetts injury attorneys have worked in this legal space for over 25 years and have a thorough understanding of how to pursue the compensation you deserve. Having helped countless clients, we know how stressful a serious injury can be for you and your whole family, which is why we will focus on your case so that you can focus on healing.

In a recent case, the Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) was asked to address the circumstances under which an injured victim is required to give 30-day notice for accidents involving road flaws. The facts of the case are as follows. The plaintiff was hurt on his bike and struck a utility cover that was not properly aligned with the street surface. The plaintiff then sued the city. The city declined responsibility saying that an energy corporation was at fault for the improperly aligned cover. The plaintiff subsequently sued the energy company. However, the judge dismissed the claim citing plaintiff’s failure to provide notice to the company within thirty days of the plaintiff’s injury, as necessitated by a state statute. Specifically, M.G.L. c. 84  § 15 of the Torts Claims Act requires an injured person to provide notice of the injury within 30 days to the county, city, town or “person by law obliged to keep said way in repair.”

Ultimately, the SJC reversed the lower court’s decision, holding that the statutory requirement of notice within 30 days to a potential defendant purported to be accountable for road defects giving rise to injury only applies to  government defendants but not to private sector defendants. The court explained that the road defect and notice statutes apply to the government and quasi-government parties responsible for the public duty of preserving the public way and not to a private party, such as a corporation, that has created a specific defect in the road. This is true even when a private corporation is permitted by the government to fix a particular road defect. Thus, the plaintiff in this case was not required to give thirty days’ notice to the corporation and the corporation could be sued without such notice.

Bicycle accidents can lead to devastating and long-term injuries. If you have been hurt in a bicycle accident that you believe was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates, P.C., our highly skilled Massachusetts injury attorneys are committed to protecting your rights every step of the way. In personal injury lawsuits, following procedural requirements is as important as having a strong case. With years of experience, we understand the nuances of this area of the law and will make sure nothing is overlooked. For more information about your case, please do not hesitate to call us today at 1-800-262-9200 or contact us through our website.