We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of running over an unavoidable pothole. Most of the time, the worst that happens is that the vehicle’s alignment is compromised or the wheels are damaged. Sometimes, however, potholes can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle, causing an accident.
Who’s responsible when potholes cause accidents? Can you recover compensation for your injuries and other damage? Here’s what you need to know about pothole-related accidents.
Who can be held responsible for pothole-related accidents?
Generally, your city or state government is responsible for fixing roads, including potholes. In practice, those potholes may linger for weeks or months at a time.
Suing a government entity can be difficult. First, you’ll need to find out which government agency was responsible for fixing the roads where the accident happened. You’ll also need to find out how long the pothole has existed, and whether the government knew (or should have known) of its existence. You’ll also need to follow any jurisdictional rules about when and how your lawyer can file a lawsuit against the government. For example, some local and state agencies require plaintiffs to file an administrative claim first, then a lawsuit. Some government entities also have a much shorter statute of limitations—the time in which you can bring a lawsuit—than the typical two-year personal injury statute of limitations. Therefore, working with an experienced attorney is a must.
How to prove government negligence in pothole accidents
To successfully prevail on a claim against the government, a plaintiff must prove:
- The specific government agency was responsible for maintaining the roads where the accident occurred;
- The agency knew or should have known about the pothole’s existence;
- The agency failed to fix the pothole in a reasonable amount of time;
- Their failure to fix the pothole directly caused the plaintiff’s accident; and
- The plaintiff suffered actual harm.
Furthermore, if a plaintiff was also acting negligently, such as driving at night without their headlights on, Ohio’s comparative negligence rules could reduce their compensation or bar them from recovery completely.
While holding government agencies responsible for negligently maintained roads is possible, it can be an uphill battle. Call the Law Offices of Tim Misny if you believe a pothole caused your vehicle accident. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the extent of your injuries, filing a claim may be in your best interest.
Discuss your case with an Ohio car accident attorney today
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your pothole accident claim. If you were injured due to the government’s negligence, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (800) 556-4769 so that I can evaluate your case right away.