Damages Caused by a Pothole
Nobody likes potholes. They are incredibly difficult to deal with, can show up out of nowhere, and cause serious damage to your vehicle and may be liable to cause you to get into an accident. These problems alone are oftentimes caused by negligence in the individuals who are responsible. So who is responsible for damages caused in this situation? In short, it’s the government’s responsibility to handle any potholes or road problems that can cause accidents. Let’s take a closer look to learn about your legal options in the event that a pothole causes serious damage to you or your property.
The Government is Responsible for Handling Potholes
The government is responsible for handling all roadside repairs and maintenance. Public roads are managed by the government and potholes are damages that have yet to be repaired. Potholes can cause your vehicle to experience extreme damage and can even cause you to swerve and hit another vehicle. In some high-speed areas this can even cause extreme personal injury and even death! However, there must be a process that you need to follow in order to file a civil suit with the government over pothole damage.
Proving That The Government is at Fault
Proving the government did something wrong is no easy task, otherwise, we would live in a perfect world. Regardless of this fact, in order to file a successful claim against your state’s government, you will need to prove without a doubt that the government’s negligence caused your accident. Here are a couple of cases to consider before trying to file a civil suit:
- There is a massive pothole that has been out in the open for months. News stations have been constantly reporting on it to bring it to light so that someone will do something about it. This is credible information that can be used to show the government that something has been neglected and that they are at fault.
- A sinkhole suddenly appears out of nowhere during normal business hours and you’re the first one to find it by driving into it. Your vehicle becomes damaged yet no one has seen think sinkhole before. Proving without a doubt that it was caused by faulty pavement or else may be an uphill battle.
What About Swerving?
You will need to know what you’re up against if you decide to file a civil suit with your state government. Typically, the counter-argument is “what could the driver have done to avoid the pothole altogether?” The defendant will try to throw out scenarios towards your case to try and win over the jury. Some of the points they make may be valid. Did you do everything you could to avoid the pothole? Were you distracted while driving (talking on the phone, texting, and driving, looking elsewhere, etc.)? It is important to consider all variables on your side before you decide to file a civil suit. This information is crucial to winning a case for pothole damage.
Rules for Filing a Claim Against The Government
Most state governments will give you thirty days to fill out a claim form against them. Fortunately, a quick Google search will help you determine more information on your state’s claims and if you need to take more immediate action to file it.
Taking Legal Action
Filing an administrative claim against the government comes with its own challenges and processes. You may be asking for a certain dollar amount in compensation for damages if you file your claim. The state government may end up asking you if you wish to file any future lawsuits in small claims court down the road. However, your answer could end up affecting the government’s desire to settle with the claim you filed.
If no action or response is taken to your claim in a certain amount of time, then you have the option to file a lawsuit and take the government to small claims court or regular court where things can really get serious. In an actual court of law, there is no cap on the compensation that you wish to seek. Typically, the government may settle if they wish to avoid this option. However, negligence on their behalf may end up costing them serious amounts of money if they do not respond to your claims whenever they were originally filed. Thankfully, the ball is in your court at this point, and more often than not you have a higher chance of winning a case if it is taken to court.