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Who Is Liable if a Pothole Causes My Car Accident?

Posted on March 15, 2022 in

Potholes, which are typically caused by road wear over time, can be unforgiving to your car. These depressions in the road are usually located in areas of heavy traffic, poor drainage, and where lack of maintenance occurs. They are not always easy to avoid because of traffic and lack of visibility.

If you have been in an unexpected car accident caused by a pothole, it can be frustrating to handle, especially if you don’t know who is liable for damages. Speak to a specialist at Jensen Phelan Law Firm to help ease some of the uncertainty by providing support, knowledge, and guidance that may result in settling your claim quickly.

The Dangers of Pothole Accidents in Arizona

Of all car accident fatalities that occur annually, one-third of fatalities involve poor road conditions. An unexpected bump when traveling in highly congested areas can result in an unavoidable accident. 27% of major urban roads are deemed poorly maintained and provide rough, harsh rides for motorists. Only 31% of all roads in the US are deemed to be in satisfactory condition.

Many dangers, including physical bodily injuries and property damage, are prevalent in these types of accidents, including the following:

Unexpected Tire Blowouts

When a tire slips into a deep pothole when traveling at a high speed, the tire may split or puncture due to the impact and sharp edges of the pothole. This can release a rapid burst of air, causing a tire blowout. In addition to the force of this impact, your car may lose control and veer off into oncoming traffic, a median, or a ditch. A crash can result.

Steering System Malfunction

The unexpected force of hitting a pothole can also damage steering wheel systems. This jolt can cause malfunction and misalignment in the steering components and engine, contributing to losing control of the car and colliding with other vehicles.

Damage to the Exhaust System

If the pothole is especially deep when it impacts your vehicle, it can also cause damage to your exhaust system. A damaged exhaust system can produce engine damage and potentially put your passengers at risk for carbon monoxide inhalation.

Substantial Physical Injuries

As well as sustaining damage to your vehicle when impacting a pothole, you may also endure physical harm. Excessive jolt injuries can cause concussions, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, internal hemorrhaging, and more. Injuries become substantially worse if you lose control of your car and collide with another vehicle.

Can the City Be Held Liable for an Accident Caused by a Pothole?

Roads are typically maintained by cities, counties, and states, and these government agencies may be held responsible for pothole accident damages. They are the authority in ensuring public road safety, including instances of maintaining proper road signage, street lighting, and road condition.

Despite the fact that these government entities may be responsible for ensuring adequate road conditions, they may have immunity to car accident lawsuits through sovereign immunity, a protection that voids any lawsuits against the government. However, if an accident occurs because of a known or forseeable road hazard, the government agency responsible for maintaining a safe road environment may still be held liable as long as your lawyer can prove negligence. IMPORTANTLY, a Notice of Claim must be filed with the government entity within 180 days of the crash, and suit must be filed within one year. Retain Jensen Phelan Law Firm quickly to protect your right to make a claim.

To pursue damages against a government agency, you must be able to prove the following:

  • Was the government aware of the unsafe road conditions such as a pothole before the accident occurred?
  • Did the government identify the pothole during a routine survey of the road before your crash, or should it have?
  • Have the poor road conditions or potholes been an issue for quite some time, and the government should have been aware of it?

Speak to a specialist at Jensen Phelan Law Firm for free to assess your case and help you mitigate any challenges regarding your unsafe road (including pothole) car accident.

If you suffer harm or damages due to an unsafe road such as one with a pothole, you may be able to initiate an insurance claim. Before you can begin that process, you must do the following:

  • Specify the exact location of the poor road condition or pothole.
  • Take detailed photos and videos of the area where you experienced the car accident.
  • Take detailed notes of essential information regarding the car accident.
  • Write down information to contact any witnesses.

When you have notated all important information, you must contact the local county commissioner’s office to find out which government department is liable for road maintenance where the car accident occurred. Keep in mind that the deadlines indicated above for any government damages claim.

Contact the Arizona Car Accident Lawyers at Jensen Phelan Law Firm

At Jensen Phelan Law Firm, our car accident specialists offer over 50 years of combined experience protecting the rights of victims that have suffered due to negligence. We take pride in advocating for our clients so that they may focus on recovery.

Being in a car accident can be stressful, especially if the accident was the result of poorly maintained public roads. This can make initiating a claim challenging, but as car accident specialists, we are here to help. Contact our office today at (928) 778-2660 or complete our contact form.