Who Is Liable For A Pothole Accident?
Bad road conditions are the cause of about one-third of all traffic related fatalities. Every year potholes cost millions of dollars’ worth in damages to cars and in personal injury related medical expenses. Big potholes can impair even the toughest vehicles.
A survey conducted by AAA uncovered that about 30 million drivers across the United States suffer bad enough pothole damage to require costly repairs. Such repairs cost about three billion dollars annually. Drivers typically pay anywhere from $250 to $1000 per accident.
Potholes are not only dangerous to drivers, but also pedestrians and cyclists. Potholes often cause drivers to lose control over their cars and crash. Sometimes potholes cause drivers to swerve to avoid it, but drivers instead end up crashing into another car.
Preventing Automobile Damages and Injuries
Minimize the potential damages and injuries caused by potholes, we recommend the following:
- Drive at slower speeds on roads that have lots of potholes
- Look ahead while driving to provide yourself with more reaction time.
- Remain cautious and pay attention while driving.
- Inspect your tires to ensure that they are properly inflated and have enough tread.
- Inspect the suspension of your car.
- Inspect the alignment of your car.
- Be alert of any infrequent vibrations or noises.
Before swerving to avoid a pothole, check to be certain no cars are around. In circumstances where potholes cannot be avoided, slow down and try to make sure that the steering wheel stays straight. This will give you more management over your car.
Who is Liable in the Case of a Pothole Accident?
It is the responsibility of the city, county or state to properly maintain the roads and make sure they are free of defects.
When a city official knew or should have known about a pothole, yet failed to repair it, that city may be held liable for all accidents caused by that pothole.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that your insurance company will pay the damages based on your policy limits. If your insurance fails to cover all of the damages, you can file a claim with the government entity responsible for the road.
However, the government is usually protected from legal action by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which stops government workers from being sued without their consent. Florida and its cities can only be held liable for up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per tort claim.
Before filing your claim against Florida, you have to inform the Division of Risk Management, in writing, and wait at least 180 days before filing the lawsuit. During the 180 days, the division investigates your claim to decide if they are responsible for your damages.
You should consider hiring a skilled lawyer to help you determine the right governmental entity and file a claim for damages.
The Aftermath of a Pothole Accident
Pothole accidents often cause severe injuries requiring expensive hospital care and extensive recovery time. These accidents may result in bad concussions, broken bones, neck problems, spinal cord damage, various internal problems or even traumatic brain injury.
Victims in the most severe crashes, typically endure long-lasting life-changing injuries that make it very difficult to ever work again. When resulting crashes are bad enough, the accident may be fatal. Victims and their loved ones, can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for hospital bills, pain and suffering, lost wages or a wrongful death.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident as a result of a pothole, you may end up with serious medical difficulties, typically necessitating costly medical care. You deserve to be compensated for your damages. You should hire a skilled Clearwater personal injury attorney who is experienced with pothole cases.
If you were injured, you want a top rated personal injury law firm to handle your case, and fight for the best possible results. The attorneys at Roman & Roman can guide you through the complicated process of litigating a pothole lawsuit. Call us now at 877-767-1032, or contact us online, to discuss your case in more detail. We have offices in Clearwater, Hudson and Tampa, Florida.