State Law Could Limit Recovery in Motorcycle Fatality

A man riding his motorcycle was killed Saturday night after striking the rear-end of a city -owned utility truck with his motorcycle.  According to reports, the accident occurred just north of the intersection at 41st and Peoria when the truck turned northbound onto Peoria as the motorcycle passed through the intersection.

Witnesses claimed that the rider, John Akin, had the green light as the motorcycle passed through the intersection.  As Akin passed through the intersection, the driver of the utility truck pulled out from a Kum and Go convenience store causing Akin to lay down his motorcycle in an attempt to avoid a more serious collision with the city’s truck.  Despite his efforts to avoid the truck, Akin struck the rear end of the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries.  Reports indicated that Mr. Akin was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, but it was not known whether it contributed to his injuries.

Assuming the truck driver was at fault and liable for the death of Mr. Akin, the compensable loss to his estate is capped under Oklahoma law at $175,000. See 51 O.S. Sec. 154(A)(2).  The cap applies in this case by virtue of the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act, which limits the maximum exposure of the state and cities.  The Oklahoma Legislature enacted the cap in 1978 and it has not raised the cap to keep pace with the economy since 2000.

Contact the Tulsa motorcycle accident attorneys at Bryan & Terrill Law if you have questions about injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents, or if you have questions about the application of the tort claims act or governmental liability.