It isn't over yet, but already this winter will be one for the record books. Much of the nation has seen a deep freeze unlike any in recent memory and the cold weather has extended to the southeastern states. Along with this cold weather comes the increased problem of road damage, a threat that can linger long after warmer temperatures return. Pothole accidents present not only the threat of costly repairs but the potential for injury and even death. Our attorney can help those injured due to potholes and other road hazards explore all of their legal rights.
According to WJHG, motorists spend billions of dollars a year repairing damages stemming from potholes. Panama City's Engineering Division Manager, George Walrond, explained that water expands as it freezes and this can push against pavement causing it to break. As cars run over the break, the pavement breaks down further and this ultimately creates a pothole.
Although potholes are seen more often in colder climates, local drivers are asking municipalities to pay attention to the need for pothole repairs. Some residents are calling for the city to cover the costs of repairs, such as damage to tire rims, associated with potholes. They say it is an issue of the city and the Public Works agency being held accountable, suggesting the city should have employees riding the roads to check out potholes.
As a general matter, Neil Fravel, the Public Works Director for Panama City, suggests that there has not been an actual increase in the number of potholes in our region. Instead, he says the issue is the impact of utility cuts. Other officials note that the Public Works team is only able to repair potholes that fall within city limits. Information on street repairs within Panama City can be found on theMaintenance Division website. Bay County also has a webpage with information about reporting potholes on the 494 miles of roads owned or maintained by the County.
Municipal Liability for Pothole-Related Injury
While the WJHG article focused on the cost of pothole-related repairs, the reality is that potholes can also cause significant personal injury. A pothole may cause an automobile driver to lose control and lead to a collision with a roadside object or another vehicle. Motorcycle riders face even greater danger with potholes potentially leading to a rider being thrown from their motorcycle, a result that can be deadly even for riders wearing helmets and other safety gear.
In some cases, the city or municipality may be liable for an injury resulting from a pothole. Typically, liability would require proof that the municipality knew or should have known about the road hazard and still failed to fix the problem. It can be tough to prove actual knowledge, but the injured plaintiff may be able to argue that the government entity should have conducted periodic roadway inspections. Cases against government entities must also comply with a number of procedural rules, including but not limited to those found in Section 768.28 of the Florida Statutes.
If you were injured because of a pothole or other dangerous road condition, call us. Attorney Pittman has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you recover monetary compensation. Call to arrange a no-cost consultation to discuss your legal rights.