Potholes and rough roads seem to be the norm in the US. Name any road or highway; the safe bet is that a part of the road must be in bad shape or under construction, increasing the risks of serious car accidents. But what if the accident turns serious? Who is liable for catastrophic injuries caused by a pothole accident? In the event of an accident caused by a pothole, the public body is liable for the damages, and only an experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove that.
Let’s discuss this further so you know your rights to claim for your injuries in a pothole accident.
How Can Driving Over Potholes Cause an Accident?
A bumpy road makes the journey difficult. Potholes can cause damage to vehicles and lead to serious accidents with catastrophic injuries. Depending on the depth and size of a pothole, driving over it can result in an impact very close to the force of a 35 mph car accident.
Driving over potholes at highway speeds can be particularly dangerous, sometimes causing the driver to lose control of their vehicle. This can result in serious injury or even death to the vehicle’s driver or others on the road.
Perhaps the most dangerous pothole accidents are those that involve motorcyclists. When a rider hits a pothole, the front wheel can get caught, causing the motorcycle to crash. This can be fatal to the motorcyclist and cause other vehicles in the immediate vicinity to collide.
Liability in Pothole Accidents
In many situations where a pothole is determined to cause a car accident, the entity or the public body in charge of maintaining the road where the accident occurred is liable. Entities responsible for road condition maintenance typically include public authorities (State, departments, municipalities, etc.). In a pothole accident, you can therefore hold them responsible. But this responsibility is not automatic; you must prove it like any other personal injury claim.
The courts assess each case on a case-by-case basis. And they require that the disorders constitute “a lack of normal maintenance of the work.” That is, the condition is beyond normal obstacles any user can expect to encounter on the road.
Under these conditions, and by way of example, if the pothole is only a few centimeters deep, the court will not hold the public body liable. Same thing if the pothole is indicated by signs.
In addition, although government entities are responsible for maintaining safe road conditions, they may not always be legally responsible for damages suffered due to poor conditions. This is because many state laws protect the government by allowing a reasonable amount of time for both to discover and repair roads, such as potholes.
This means that you cannot hold the government entity legally responsible for damages if the deterioration of the roads is not discovered or reported. However, there is an exception: if the pothole lasted long enough, and the government should have discovered it but did not, it can be held liable. Whatever the case, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is best to avoid complexities and get the compensation you deserve.
What Reflexes to Adopt Following a Pothole Accident?
To obtain damages, you must provide evidence. Because if the administration must prove the normal maintenance of the roads, you must prove the causal link between the damage suffered and the pothole.
Consequently, it is strongly recommended to:
- Immediately take photos of the pothole and damage to your vehicle.
- Gather contacts from the witnesses present
- Retrieve the police intervention report, if necessary,
- Have the presence of the pothole noted by a bailiff
- Keep all the supporting documents (invoices from the mechanic for the repairs, rental invoice for a replacement vehicle, invoice from the bailiff’s report, your medical reports, etc.)
Overall, you will not be able to get compensation without this evidence.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer!
Proving liability in car accidents involving catastrophic injuries and pothole claims can be complicated. Therefore, you must seek legal advice and talk to an expert personal injury attorney.
If you have been injured in a pothole accident in Nevada and are looking for the best personal injury law firm, contact the legal team at The Bourassa Law Group. Attorneys at The Bourassa Law Group are well-versed in Nevada personal injury law and have immense experience in dealing with personal injury cases.
Get in touch today to discuss your case and get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
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