A man who says a large pavement "rut" caused him to tumble off his bicycle in Brookline is plumb out of luck trying to get somebody to pay for his injuries, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today.
Tom Filepp sued what is now National Grid over injuries he says he incurred in 2005 when he tumbled off his bicycle due to a two-inch gap in the pavement on Harvard Street he says was caused by work by the company.
But Filepp did not submit a claim with National Grid until three months after his accident - or two months later than the 30-day deadline for filing claims set in state law.
Filepp actually filed a claim with the town of Brookline immediately after the incident, but the town waited nearly 2 1/2 months to tell him the crack was due to Keyspan, not anything it had done.
That's unfortunate, but not National Grid's fault, the court said, because the law leaves it up to the injured person to find the actual responsible party - and to be snappy about it.
Under the statutory scheme, the burden is placed on the party injured by reason of a defect in the way to ascertain promptly whether the defect may have been caused by a party (other than the municipality) who is "by law obliged to keep said way in repair." Though the time for such a determination is only thirty days, if there are practical reasons why the time should be made longer the appropriate body to consider and weigh them is the Legislature.