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Who is Liable When Potholes Cause Accidents?

It isn’t just the wet snow and slippery conditions driver’s need to worry about in the winter. Once the snow falls, freezes, and then thaws, every car’s nightmare begins as dangerous potholes begin to emerge on city streets.

Injuries from car accidents can be severe and life-changing, and potholes not only damage cars but also cause accidents when drivers lose control after hitting them or swerve to avoid them.

Who is Liable When a Pothole Causes an Accident?

All car accidents are scary. The chain reaction is swift and frightening if you unsuspectingly hit a pothole and lose vehicle control. The noise, sudden impact, and collision make your heartbeat race.

Anyone injured in an automobile accident can receive compensation from the at-fault, negligent driver. And, when other parties or factors significantly contribute to the accident and related injuries, those parties may also be careless and have liability.

Determining liability in tire blow-out accidents is often more complex and requires the attention and advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Negligence and liability for an accident from hitting a pothole may apply to 3 independent parties: the driver, the maker/installer of the wheel/tire, and the local municipal authority responsible for maintaining the pavement in a safe condition. The negligence of any or all of these may be involved in determining the appropriate compensation for the injured party.

Am I Liable in an Accident Caused by a Pothole?

You are not liable for any damage to yourself or your vehicle from hitting a pothole. Depending on the types of injuries or damage to your car, others are liable in a pothole accident.

Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Vehicle’s Manufacturer or Its Parts?

The driver who experienced the tire blow-out may have a liability claim against the manufacturer or installer of the tire and wheel. The tire may have been defective – and subject to a blowout following a relatively minor impact – or it may have been improperly installed. 

An experienced product liability attorney can investigate the matter and advise

the driver on the merits of pursuing a product liability claim.

Does the City of Chicago Pay for Vehicle Damage Caused by Potholes?

Chicago and surrounding municipalities are legally responsible for repairing and maintaining roads and ensuring they are free of defects or damage. 

An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate, evaluate the situation, and recommend appropriate action. In most situations, an attorney must prove that the city or municipality knew (or should have known) of the pavement defect and was negligent in failing to remedy the dangerous road (pothole) condition.

In 2023, a local Chicago news outlet revealed that “nearly 1,400 claims were filed with the city, 46% of pothole damage claims were approved, 37% were denied, and 18% are still pending.” The average payout for such claims was around $333, although the city accepts claims if they are under $2500.

Just know that if you do file a claim with the city of Chicago, be prepared to wait. The news outlet reported that a large number of claims are still pending at this point.

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Pothole Accidents?

Good news: if you have collision protection on your automobile insurance, you’re probably covered from any pothole accidents. Collision protection often covers accidents involving “damage to a car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a pothole, lamp post or guard rail).”

Note that collision protection is optional, so you might need to enroll before contacting your insurance agency.

Pothole-related claims are treated as at-fault accidents that directly correlate to your insurance premiums.

Sometimes, it isn’t always best to go through your insurance company if you’ve experienced pothole damage, as filing a claim might be more expensive depending on your deductible. In addition, expect to pay higher monthly fees due to your claim.

What Evidence Do I Need for a Pothole Accident Claim?

Like any accident, gathering evidence to prove your case is essential.

Immediately after hitting the pothole, take clear photographs of the pothole, its dimensions, and its location concerning traffic signs or landmarks. You’ll need these while filing any claims as evidence of the road’s condition. At the same time, document any damage to your vehicle caused by the pothole, including dents, scratches, or tire damage.

Before leaving the season, record the accident’s date, time, and location. Also, note the weather conditions, visibility, and other relevant details that might help recreate the circumstances leading to the incident.

If you haven’t already, report the pothole to the local municipal authority responsible for road maintenance. Keep records of your report, including the date and any correspondence with the authorities.

Remember any prior accidents or car damages when filing a claim, including your vehicle’s maintenance history. This helps establish that the pothole caused the new damage.

It may be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney in case of an accident depending on the circumstances.

Injured in an Accident Caused by a Pothole? Contact FLT Law Today to Get the Compensation You Deserve.

The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law are knowledgeable in representing those injured in car accidents, pothole accidents, and other personal injury cases. Our teams make the legal process as stress-free as possible, allowing us to focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical recovery.

If you or a loved one is injured or a victim of the negligence of others, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us using the form below.


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William Turner
william
William J. Turner

William Turner has represented hundreds of working men and women who have been victims of the negligence of others – gaining equitable compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering for his clients. He concentrates his practice in the trial of complex personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, construction mishaps, medical malpractice, dog and animal attacks, nursing home abuse, and slip-and-falls. Additionally, he offers niche counsel and advocacy for workers who are injured on a job.

William has obtained judgements from juries in approximately 150 cases and has secured fair and comprehensive settlements in even more over his career. William Turner has dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of those who are injured as a result of the negligent acts of others.

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