Motorcyclist receives USD 2.65 million for injuries incurred during a crash on potholes
In a news, that might come as a surprise for Indians, a motorcyclist, who met with an accident due to potholes while riding his 2005 Victory motorcycle, has received USD 2.6 million which translates to Rs 19.14 crore. Back in 2016, Roger Gates, 67, met with an accident while riding his motorcycle in West Milford, New Jersey, which resulted in serious upper body injury, compelling him to stop working. In that accident, Gates collided with an oncoming van, a 1999 Plymouth Grand Voyager.
Potholes on asphalt road (Source: Wiki)
Four years after the crash, a six-member jury announced the final decision on Gates' case in front of Judge Frank Covello in Superior Court in Passaic County against their local authorities. The four and half hour-long court session's final decision mentioned of USD 2.65 million being awarded to Gates, in addition to a medical reimbursement of USD 7,56,000. In the above mentioned crash, Gates encountered several fractured ribs, fractures in the wrist, hand and back, also on the clavicle and the shoulder blade, torn ligaments in the neck and collapsed lung. Further, Gate went through multiple surgeries at Hackensack University Medical Center for two months and was then shifted to two different medical care facilities where he continues to get treatment.
According to the testimony submitted by Roger Gates, on his way while trying to avoid sections where the potholes were patched, he approached a right turn where he encountered large potholes, that led to him losing control of his motorcycle and enter the wrong lane thereby colliding with the van driven by a 56-year-old Mary Vanderstad. In the case, Gates was accused by Ronald Hunt, attorney representing Passaic County, stating that he was not wearing his corrective lenses and hearing aid. Additionally, Gates was labelled reckless, careless and negligent but Hunt also mentioned that Gates who was a frequent commuter on this road, had never complained of the potholes earlier as something that could lead to an accident.
The road in question, Passaic County, was already reported for its numerous potholes by the locals in 2014. The authorities used to merely fill the potholes with asphalt as a repair work, however, in winters with thawing, the issue was back. Locals residing in this area consistently reported of a more permanent solution to this recurring problem. Post Gates' accident, his wife had visited the crash site wherein she saw the road crew filling the potholes at the same site where her husband had crashed his motorcycle.
In India, last month, a 55-year-old Indukala Chauhan lost her life due to severe head injuries as she was sitting pillion on her son's scooter and then slipped into a pothole near Hazaripahad chowk. The Gittikhadan police mentioned of this incident as an accidental death instead of registering an offence. This was done in spite of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court instructing the cops to register cases against the contractors and officials of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) in such cases, after TOI highlighted the problems due to potholes.