There are many roads with potholes and ditches. Sometimes off-road property also has ditches. These property conditions can result in serious injuries to pedestrians. If you have been injured in a ditch or pothole accident, you may be able to recover your damages through a premises liability lawsuit. These claims can be brought against private property owners as well as governmental entities. However, the window of time within which to sue the government is extremely short. You should contact a Folsom personal injury attorney immediately after the accident so that you can provide proper notice in case the property is owned by the government.
Ditch and Pothole Accident Cases
You may be able to recover damages through a slip and fall lawsuit based on a pothole or ditch accident if you can prove either that the property owner created the ditch or pothole, or that the property owner knew or should have known about the ditch or pothole, such that it should have repaired the condition or provided sufficient warnings to visitors about it. In addition to either of these elements, you must also show that the ditch or pothole caused your injuries and that it presented a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm.
Generally, to show constructive notice, you need to show how long a pothole or ditch was present. When it has only existed for a couple of days, it may be difficult to show that the property owner could or should have done something to repair it in such a short period of time. However, if months or years pass before a ditch or pothole is repaired, your California premises liability attorney should be able to show constructive notice, or perhaps even actual notice to the property owner.
Whether the place where the ditch or pothole accident occurred is public or private may also matter to your lawsuit. Under the California Tort Claims Act, a public entity is not liable for injuries caused either by itself or by any employee, except when its sovereign immunity has been waived. A government entity can be responsible for its employee’s negligent acts if the negligent acts were in the course and scope of employment with the government or while carrying out a government function for which sovereign immunity has been waived. You cannot sue the employee directly. Public entities in California can also be held accountable for injuries caused by an independent contractor’s negligence or for their failure to carry out duties imposed by law.
To sue a public entity, such as a state, county, or local government, you will need to give notice of your claim. The written claim is supposed to include your contact information, a description of what happened, a description of where and when the accident happened, and a description of how you were hurt. It needs to specify your injuries, damages, or losses, including medical expenses and wage loss, as known. The claim should also state the name of the employee who caused the injury if this is known. When the claimed losses fall below $10,000, the claim will need to state how much it is claiming and how the figure was calculated. When the losses are over $10,000, the written claim should specify whether the resulting lawsuit will be of limited or unlimited jurisdiction. The notice needs to be filed within six months of your being injured or a loved one being killed in an accident caused by uneven pavement, such as a pothole. If the government rejects some or all of a claim, you can sue in court for damages.