Is the City Liable for Pothole Damage to Vehicles?
Rear-ended by a car when you are stopped for a traffic light? The other driver is liable for damage to your vehicle and for any injuries you suffer. What happens when your vehicle is damaged (or you are injured) because of a pothole in the road?
Poor road conditions, including potholes, is often the cause of serious car damage or even injuries to the driver. Whether a person can sue for the resulting damage or injuries is a complicated question.
Roads are maintained by cities, counties/parishes and states. Different maintenance responsibilities for a certain roadway can also be shared by more than one governmental agency.
Who is legally liable in those situations? In many cases, it is the government entity charged with maintaining the road where your accident took place. But there are also times when someone other than the government is responsible.
State laws typically allow the government a reasonable amount of time to discover poor road conditions and repair them. Governments generally learn about dangerous road conditions through reports by people of road hazards, and by taking regular surveys of the roads.
According to a WBRZ news account in 2015: In East Baton Rouge, the Department of Public Works has a system in place to pay some drivers for the damage. However, there’s some fine print. Baton Rouge will only pay if there is prior knowledge of the pothole before a person hits it.
A victim of a car accident due to poor road conditions must prove:
The road conditions actually caused the damage to the car and/or the injuries.
The agency or company responsible was negligent in maintaining the road, or warning drivers about hazards on the road.
Report the Incident No Matter What
Reporting the incident helps prevent the substandard condition from causing damage to someone else’s vehicle. Your call can help prevent someone from being seriously injured. If you are not sure who to report the condition to, contact the local police department.
If you decide to make a claim, the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of L. Clayton Burgess here. We are committed to helping you achieve fair compensation. Cases can be resolved in court or through a settlement negotiation, but regardless, it is important to act quickly. Make arrangements to meet for a free consultation at any of our 8 personal injury law offices, or contact us toll- free at 1-877-234-7573.