When A Pothole Causes A Florida Car Accident
Potholes cause extensive and expensive damage to cars and cause car owners to spend a lot on repairs. According to a study from the AAA auto club, a federation of motor clubs throughout North America, pothole damage costs American drivers $3 billion per year. Apart from vehicle damage, potholes can also result in serious accidents. A pothole can, for example, cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, thus resulting in an accident. Potholes account for a significant number of accidents across Florida every year.
If you have suffered severe injuries in a pothole accident, you might be wondering who to hold liable. It would be best if you talked to a qualified car accident attorney to help you determine who to hold accountable and recover the compensation you deserve. An attorney can help you conduct a thorough investigation to ensure the right party or parties are held responsible and recover the maximum payment amount possible.
Injuries in a Pothole Accident
A pothole accident can result in different injuries and damages. When it comes to injuries, a pothole accident can result in, among many others;
- Neck issues
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord damage
Who Is Liable for a Florida Pothole Accident?
State and local government agencies have a duty to ensure that Florida roads are well maintained. Therefore, if a dangerous pothole appears, it is the duty of the state and local government agencies to have it repaired as soon as possible. If the negligence of government authorities leads to a pothole accident, they can be held liable. For instance, suppose a city official knew about a pothole but failed to ensure that it got repaired. If that same pothole causes an accident, the city may be held responsible for the accident and the victims’ accident-related injuries and damages.
It is vital to note that the doctrine of sovereign immunity protects government agencies from legal action. According to Cornell Law School, the principle of sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government can’t be sued without its consent. It is vital to also note that claims against government agencies are subject to special rules. For example, Florida and its municipalities can only be held liable for up to $200,000 per individual and $300,000 per tort claim. Also, if you decide to file a lawsuit against the state, you need to inform the Division of Risk Management in writing. After doing that, you must wait at least 180 days before filing your lawsuit. The 180 days waiting period allows the division to conduct an investigation and decide if your case should be permitted to move forward.
After a car accident occurs because of a pothole, a driver can also be held liable. It is every driver’s duty to react appropriately when they encounter a pothole while driving. If a driver’s negligence causes a pothole accident to occur, they may be held liable. If, for example, the other driver failed to notice the pothole because they were texting while driving or swerved dangerously, you might be able to recover compensation from them. If another driver is to blame for your pothole accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company or a lawsuit in court.
After a pothole accident, it is crucial that you retain a skilled car accident attorney who can help you determine liability and file a claim. It is especially vital that you hire an attorney if you plan to file a lawsuit against a government agency or entity. Such suits can be incredibly complicated, so it is best to work with a professional.
What Government Authorities Can Do To Prevent Pothole Accidents
Below are some of the things that government authorities can do to prevent pothole accidents:
- Regularly inspecting Florida’s roads and highways for potholes
- Repairing identified potholes immediately
- Posting warning signs when it proves impossible to repair a pothole
- Conducting routine maintenance
- Closing lanes or roads with potholes that present accident risks and providing detours
What Motorists Can Do To Prevent Pothole Accidents
Motorists, too, can take several steps to prevent pothole accidents. In fact, it is every driver’s duty to do their best to avert pothole accidents. Below are some of the things that drivers can do to reduce the occurrence of pothole accidents:
- Driving at a slower speed when they see potholes
- Inspecting the alignment of vehicles
- Avoiding distracted driving
- Checking the suspension of vehicles
- Checking vehicle tires to make sure they are properly inflated and have enough tread
Contact a Naples Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a pothole-related accident in Florida, contact an experienced Naples car accident attorney at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro. We can assess the facts of your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 239-329-7829 to schedule a consultation.