Can you File a Claim for Pothole Damage to your Car?
It’s no secret that Michigan’s roads are in bad shape. Given how our weather can go from being bitterly cold one day to springlike the next, potholes are a very common occurrence. But even if you know to watch out for potholes, it’s still very easy for one to catch you by surprise. Unfortunately, an unexpected pothole can be more than a bump in the road; many Michigan drivers have had their cars damaged by potholes. In a worse case scenario, a particularly bad pothole could cause a driver to lose control of their car and hit another driver or veer off the road. So if your car is damaged, can you sue for pothole damage? The short answer is yes, but there are some important factors you need to be aware of.
If you would like to make a claim for pothole damage, it’s important to consult a motor vehicle accident attorney, especially if an injury is involved. In Michigan, claims for pothole damage to cars can be filed against the city, county, or state, depending on who is responsible for maintaining the road where your car was damaged. Since this involves dealing with the government, there can be a lot of obstacles and loopholes involved and a lawyer will be able to help you navigate those. Just be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible since you may have a very limited amount of time to make your claim.
To successfully make a claim for pothole damage, you’ll need to prove that the party responsible for repairing roads was aware of the problem and acted negligently. With any type of negligence case, the hazard needs to have existed long enough for the person/organization responsible for fixing it to reasonably become aware of the problem and to fix it. Since potholes can literally appear overnight, especially if the weather suddenly warms up, the people in charge of filling them need to have an opportunity to fix them. If a pothole has existed for months, though, you’ll have a much stronger case.
If you’re not sure how long a pothole has been around for, an attorney might still be able to help you. For example, if your car was damaged after hitting a pothole that you couldn’t see because the streetlights in the area were burned out and that has been an ongoing problem, they may be able to build a case for you around that fact. An attorney could also do research to find out whether or not the organization handling road repair on the road in question was acting appropriately. Things like survey records, past news reports, and even interviews with people who live in the area could help shed some light on how diligent they are about fixing the roads in an area.