In 2016, motorcyclist Roger Gates was driving his Victory in the West Milford area of New Jersey, and at one time, his bike was caught in a series of large holes in the road. As a result, the motorcycle lost control and collided with an oncoming minibus. Gates suffered multiple serious injuries and lost the ability to work. The court recently awarded Gates and his wife $ 2.65 million in damages, plus the defendant’s medical expenses.
The defendant in this case is Passayik County, and the court ruled that the county should pay Gates this amount. The section of the road where the accident occurred has long been known for its poor condition, and the history of confirmed complaints from drivers about holes in the asphalt begins at least 2014, when, according to the author of one of the complaints, “my car practically disappeared in the hole”…
Residents of this area report that road services sometimes cover the pits with asphalt, but after a series of winter freezes and thaws, the road again becomes ugly. Despite this, the district authorities did not make more thorough attempts to repair the road.
This road already had the status “needs renovation” at the time of the accident in 2016. The last renovation at that time was carried out in 2014. Gates’ wife, in her statement to the court, indicated that when the day after the accident she arrived at the scene of the collision to pick up various little things that her husband had dropped, she saw road workers in a hurry patching up the holes that Roger Gates had gotten into. It is worth noting that the then governor of the state, Chris Christie, at that time stopped the development of the road fund, so this road was not taken up until 2018.
Both vehicles, a motorcycle and a minibus, caught fire after the collision. The driver of the minibus was not injured, and Gates was found to have multiple fractures of the ribs, a fracture of the spine, collarbone, scapula, wrist and hand. He also suffered a lung collapse, ruptured neck ligaments and complex fractures of the pelvic bones, resulting in permanent nerve damage. He required many surgeries and is still undergoing regular treatments to this day.
In addition to $ 2.65 million, the court ruled that Passayik County must pay Gates and his wife $ 760,000 to cover medical expenses. According to some reports, a Passeijik County attorney is planning an appeal against the ruling.