Michigan Potholes: can you sue the government for unsafe roads?
Our roads are deteriorating because of our harsh Michigan winters and the lack of resources to overhaul the state’s roads. Did you know that you sometimes can sue the governmental entity that’s responsible for maintaining your roads? Seriously, there’s a statute that confers the right to sue the person/entity that’s responsible for maintaining the roads:
Sec. 2. (1) Each governmental agency having jurisdiction over a highway shall maintain the highway in reasonable repair so that it is reasonably safe and convenient for public travel. A person who sustains bodily injury or damage to his or her property by reason of failure of a governmental agency to keep a highway under its jurisdiction in reasonable repair and in a condition reasonably safe and fit for travel may recover the damages suffered by him or her from the governmental agency. The liability, procedure, and remedy as to county roads under the jurisdiction of a county road commission shall be as provided in section 21 of chapter IV of 1909 PA 283, MCL 224.21. Except as provided in section 2a,1 the duty of a governmental agency to repair and maintain highways, and the liability for that duty, extends only to the improved portion of the highway designed for vehicular travel and does not include sidewalks, trailways, crosswalks, or any other installation outside of the improved portion of the highway designed for vehicular travel. A judgment against the state based on a claim arising under this section from acts or omissions of the state transportation department is payable only from restricted funds appropriated to the state transportation department or funds provided by its insurer.
When the government has not met its duty to keep the road in reasonable repair and in a condition that’s reasonably safe, then you can recover for your damages if you’re injured. What’s the catch? You need standing, which means that you’ve actually suffered some harm from the road. There’s another catch, what you think is an unreasonable condition might not be. What do we recommend?
Goodwin & Scieszka wants to remind all drivers to avoid potholes. Don’t suddenly jerk your car when you see a pothole to get around it, but try and slowly maneuver around the pothole to avoid causing an injury to another driver. Look ahead of you and watch the line of cars that you’re following to see what they’re doing. Follow their lead.
You can’t smash into a pothole on purpose to try and recover because that would mean that you were negligent. You need to drive with care and try to avoid dangerous road conditions at all times.
Our firm is here for you. We handle car, motorcycle, and truck accidents in the Detroit and the Metro Detroit areas. Our firm has been fighting for you for over 30 years. We are compassionate for your injuries and tough on those that hurt you.
We use our blog as a way to raise awareness, update you on local news, and to provide tips to avoid the very injuries that we often defend.