Potholes are part of life in Indiana, so much so that it can be hard to drive in a straight line without hitting one (or twenty) on any stretch of the road. Not only can hitting a pothole be jarring, but it could also have serious consequences, like causing major damage to your car or an accident that leads to injuries. In 2016 potholes caused enough damage that 30 million Americans had to seek out repairs, and in Indianapolis, one ER doctor is calling on city officials to be better about pothole repair as they are a real concern for patients traveling in an ambulance. With this in mind, you may wonder who is responsible if you need repairs to your car or need to go to a hospital because of a pothole?
Pothole Damage to Your Car
If you hit a pothole and it causes significant damage to your car in Indiana, the Indiana Department of Transportation can be held responsible. In Indianapolis, if you need to get repairs for things like blown out tires or a damaged suspension, you can take your claim directly to the city. There were hundreds of these claims made between January and March of 2018, but of those claims only one was reimbursed. This is because the city cannot be considered negligent in repairing the pothole if they didn’t know about it, or didn’t have time to fix it. In most cases, potholes are not reported or cause damage in the time before the city can get around to fixing them. The city provides a resource that anyone can use to see if a pothole has been reported or fixed, and how long it took for city employees to make the repair.
Accidents Caused by Potholes
In 2013 the Ohio state government was required to pay over $3 million to the family of a woman who was killed in a pothole-related accident. A semi-truck swerved into oncoming traffic and struck the woman’s car head-on after hitting several potholes. The Ohio Department of Transportation says they didn’t know about the pothole so they didn’t know that they needed to fix it. This is not the only problem when it comes to determining who is responsible for an accident caused by a pothole. Determining which city department is responsible for the maintenance of the roadway is essential to making a case about a pothole-related car accident in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Transportation is in charge of state and interstate highways, while local roads are maintained by the city or town they pass through. In both Hamilton County and Morgan County, for example, citizens have had a hard time determining who is responsible for the potholes on their local roadways. This is because it’s not always clear whether the county or the city is responsible for pothole repair. The responsibility for fixing it doesn’t always depend on the location of the pothole, but rather the type of road that the pothole is on. For this reason, it’s best to seek out a good lawyer to help you sort out who is responsible for the maintenance of the roadway as well as other crucial factors. They can help determine who is at fault in the case of an accident that has caused damage to your car, injury, or even death.
If you or a loved one are injured in an accident caused by a pothole, the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie Lee & Bell want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact us today for a free consultation with an expert Indianapolis car accident attorney.