Bicycle accidents can happen in virtually any situation, leaving the victim with painful injuries and serious financial damages. This includes areas or objects that are maintained by government entities like utilities companies. Although utilities are a necessary component of our modern lives and key infrastructure, when maintained poorly they can put people in serious risk of suffering harm. At Maurer Law, our diligent team of North Carolina bicycle accident lawyers is ready to assist you with reviewing your potential lawsuit and whether you are entitled to compensation.
In a recent lawsuit, the plaintiffs filed damages against a utility company for injuries they sustained when they collided with one of its utility lines at different times that was lying at ground level on a public roadway. During an initial trial, the jury concluded that the defendant acted negligently and that neither plaintiff was contributorily negligent for his or her damages. The defendant appealed the lower court’s judgment based on this verdict. It also appealed the lower court’s denial of its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.
On review, the appellate court concluded that the lower court committed a reversible error when it instructed the jury about the doctrine of sudden emergency, which allowed the jury to conclude that neither plaintiff acted in a contributorily negligent manner. The record showed that severe weather caused the utility line to fall from its poles and that the defendant received notice of the fallen power line that same day. The first plaintiff was cycling along the roadway that day when another cyclist in front of her hit the wire and crashed. She was unable to stop before colliding with the cyclist and suffered severe injuries in the ensuing pileup.