As bicycles, smaller cars, and scooters become increasingly common on our roadways, potholes present more significant dangers. Even small potholes can cause serious injuries for bicyclists or small vehicles. Elderly citizens in electric mobility carts are especially vulnerable to injures from potholes.
Private Property Owner Liability
Owners of parking lots and other private property owners are liable for unreasonably large potholes that cause injuries. Pothole lawsuits are filed in state court under a premise liability theory. The extent of the injury is not a factor in being able to file a lawsuit – the key is whether there were money damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If injured on public property, then the lawsuit is filed against the public entity that owns the property, such as: the department of transportation, or the city, county, or state. Although suits against the government can be an uphill battle, the government can be liable if the pothole had been previously reported, the street poorly repaired or maintained, or if the pothole was very deep and jagged. In these cases, plaintiffs have received more than a million dollars for their injuries.
The injured person must record the incident if she is anticipating a pothole lawsuit. She should get contact information of all witnesses, call 911 as a record of the incident, go to a hospital to have her injuries assessed, and take pictures of the defect, bodily injuries, and property damage to car or bicycle.
These measures may be mildly embarrassing or seemingly inconvenient. However, they are necessary steps one must take if one is to preserve the evidence of a pothole injury.
Consulting an Attorney
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, including filing and obtaining evidence. If you are uncomfortable with going onto the pothole site or speaking in front of a judge, then a lawyer can do that for you.