Havner v. Northeast Arkansas Electric Cooperative – Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Remanded

A man who suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident will now have a chance to continue with his appeal of the summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The case highlights just one of the many hazards motorcyclists face on our roads each day. motorcycle

According to court records in Havner v. Northeast Arkansas Electric Cooperative Majority, the Arkansas Supreme Court vacated a state appeals court decision dismissing the appeal for lacking a final order. Parties to a lawsuit typically cannot appeal a ruling unless it is final, and in this case, the certificate of judgment in favor of the defendant was allegedly recorded but never filed, as required by state rules.

The motorcycle accident in question occurred when the plaintiff’s bike was struck by an overhead cable. He had been driving southbound along a highway, with a tractor-trailer moving behind him. As the motorcyclist stopped at an intersection, preparing to make a right turn, a sickle tool on the truck caught an overhead cable. The result was that it caused the cable to come crashing down and hit the front of the plaintiff’s motorcycle. The plaintiff lost control of his bike, and his motorcycle overturned. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries as a result.

The cable pole in this case was owned by the defendant utility company. However, the cable itself wasn’t owned by the firm.

The plaintiff and his wife filed a negligence lawsuit against the utilities firm and other defendants, including the driver of the truck. The utility company argued it did not have a legal duty to inspect or maintain cable that it didn’t own, and there wasn’t any evidence it knew or should have known the condition of the cable at the time of the accident.

The circuit court granted summary judgment to the utility company. The plaintiff requested an entry of judgment and a certificate with the circuit court so that he could begin the appeals process. As we mentioned earlier, the appeals court ruled this certificate was recorded but not properly filed. The state supreme court, however, ruled that this was a technical glitch having to do with courthouse software. The court then remanded the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

Although an overhead cable isn’t the kind of danger most motorcyclists typically encounter, the same could be said for a lot of different kinds of road hazards that crop up unexpectedly. These can include:

  • Leaves. The leaves are full of color, and this can make for a great autumn ride, but wet or dry leaves can be potentially very hazardous once they fall on the ground. Wet leaves can make the pavement surface slick and cause your bike to slide. If you approach a pile of leaves, it’s best to take it slowly.
  • Frost and icy surfaces. Morning frost in autumn and winter is important to bear in mind because that thin layer of ice on the road can cause a bike to lose traction. Beware that shaded areas will likely frost first.
  • Gravel on pavement. This is one of the trickiest road hazards, especially around corners. Unfortunately, gravel tends to be more common on winding roads, and this is particularly dangerous when the operator is speeding.
  • Animals. It doesn’t even have to be a large deer. A small animal – like a bunny or squirrel – can throw a motorcycle off balance or off course. Live animals running into the road can be difficult to anticipate, so motorcyclists must be vigilant at all times.

If you have been injured in a Winston-Salem motorcycle accident, we can help.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Havner v. Northeast Arkansas Electric Cooperative Majority, Nov. 10, 2016, Arkansas Supreme Court

More Blog Entries:

Elliott v. Carter – Ineffective Aid Not the Same as Gross Negligence, Nov. 7, 2016, Winston-Salem Motorcycle Accident Attorney Blog

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