Nearly every driver has had the unpleasant experience of driving over a deep pothole. Most of the time, the worst that happens is misalignment. However, sometimes driving over a pothole can cause drivers to lose control over the vehicle, causing an accident.
Who’s responsible when a pothole causes an accident?
Proving the government was negligent
Typically, the government is responsible for maintaining roads. To prove that the pothole was responsible for the accident, a plaintiff must show that the government was negligent in road maintenance.
This usually involved proving that the government knew or should have known about the poor road condition, and they did not repair the road in a reasonable amount of time. For instance, if the pothole had existed for six months, the government clearly had adequate time to learn of the problem and fix it.
Special rules when suing the government
Unfortunately, suing the government is more difficult than suing a private citizen or company. After your accident, note the name of the road and direction you were traveling, the exact location of the pothole, the size and characteristics of the pothole and any eyewitness contact information. Then, your attorney will help find out who is responsible for maintaining the road.
Depending on which local, state or federal agency is responsible for the road, your attorney will follow the necessary procedures. They often have a shorter statute of limitations—the time you’re allowed to file a claim—so it’s crucial to enlist a lawyer’s help as soon as possible. There may be other special rules to observe, such as filing administrative claims before a civil lawsuit.
When you’re involved in an accident caused by a poor road condition, the knowledgeable Manatee County, FL auto accident lawyers at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can help. Call today for a consultation.