If you’ve spent a lot of time driving in California, you know how common potholes are and what can happen if your car hits one. In certain circumstances, driving over a pothole can damage your vehicle, trigger a crash, and leave you with significant injuries.
Who is responsible if you’re injured because of a pothole? If you hit a pothole on a public road, you may be able to sue the city or the state, but doing so can be a challenge. Turn to The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, if you have been harmed in a pothole-related crash.
How a Pothole Damage Claim Works
Before filing a lawsuit for any injuries or property damage sustained from a pothole, you need to figure out who is responsible for maintaining the road. A city, state, or federal agency maintains most public roads. That means if you want to file a lawsuit, you’ll take on a government entity.
Special rules apply to suing a California city government or the state government. If you want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a city or the state, talk to our car accident attorneys right away. You have a limited window of time to act.
Types of Damage Potholes Cause
Hitting a pothole usually gives you a jolt as you pass over it, but sometimes a pothole can cause more severe injuries, such as:
- Head injuries – Hitting a pothole can cause your head to whip back and forth violently. In some cases, this can cause drivers to hit their head on the steering wheel or the side of the car, causing head, face, or brain injuries.
- Whiplash injuries – The violent jerking motion of a car going over a pothole can put intense strain on the muscles, connective tissues, and bones in your neck, leading to a whiplash injury.
- Coccyx injuries – The coccyx is the medical term for your tailbone. A hard enough jolt as you drive over a pothole can cause severe bruising of the tailbone or lead to a fracture.
Many more injuries can result if hitting the pothole triggers a collision with another vehicle or object.
A pothole can also damage your car in several ways, including:
- Tire damage – Driving over a pothole can cause a tire blowout, which can cause you to lose control of your car and lead to a serious crash.
- Wheel damage – The impact from driving over a pothole can damage or dent the rims, which may mean you need to have your wheels replaced.
- Suspension damage – The force from driving over a pothole can affect your car’s suspension, throwing off its balance and making a rollover more likely.
- Steering alignment damage – Hitting a pothole at an angle can throw your wheels out of alignment, making it harder to steer the car straight and maintain control.
Can the City Be Sued?
The short answer is yes, but you have to act quickly. You only have six months from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, and there are other legal hurdles you’ll have to clear. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to avoid running into any issues with the statute of limitations.
How Our Law Firm Can Help Drivers Injured After a Pothole Accident
Our car accident lawyers can help you gather the evidence you need and make sure you file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. We can answer any questions you may have and negotiate for a fair settlement. Contact The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, today for a free consultation with a California car accident lawyer.