Proving Liability in an Accident Caused by a Pothole

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on October 8, 2019

. Updated on March 23, 2022


partially filled in potholePotholes are everywhere in South Bend and traveling over them is not only bad for your car, it could lead to an accident and injuries.

The South Bend car accident lawyers of Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak discuss liability for pothole accidents, including how a government entity could be held responsible.

You can contact one of our car accident attorneys to discuss your claim and how we may be able to help. Your initial consultation is completely free of charge, and, if you hire us to represent you, there are no fees unless we are successful in securing compensation through a settlement or verdict.

Can the Government be Liable?

The state or local government is often responsible for maintaining roadways, including patching dangerous potholes.

The government entity that was legally responsible for the road where your pothole accident happened could be held responsible for your damages if you can prove the entity failed to fulfill its obligation to keep the road reasonably safe. You must establish a dangerous condition (the pothole) existed, and the government failed to fix it within a reasonable period of time or failed to give drivers adequate warning of the danger.

If you were injured in a pothole accident, you should contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible. You do not have much time to file a claim – you must file notice of claim within just 180 days of the accident or your claim could be dismissed (Indiana Code 34-13-3-5(b)).

Determining if Road Conditions Caused the Accident

You must prove your accident was caused, at least partially, by poor road conditions. There are several steps you can take right after the accident to help link it to the pothole:

  • Contact law enforcement to report the accident. A responding officer will file an accident report to document the incident. Inform the officer of the pothole and other road conditions so they are documented within the accident report.
  • Make a note of the specific location of the accident and the roadway conditions.
  • Take photos of the accident and damage. Make sure to capture the pothole and other road conditions, along with mile markers and road signs to help identify the location of the accident.
  • Write down names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident.
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident.

Common Injuries From Pothole Accidents

Hitting a pothole can cause serious damage to the engine and other vehicle components, along serious injuries, including:

  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Facial lacerations
  • Sprain and strain injuries
  • Whiplash

Avoiding Potholes

Sometimes it is impossible to avoid a pothole, but other times there are steps drivers can take to reduce the risk of a pothole crash:

  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • If you see a pothole and cannot avoid it, slow down before you pass over it
  • Do not brake right over a pothole as this may do more damage to your vehicle
  • Firmly hold the steering wheel to avoid losing control of your vehicle
  • Keep your tires properly inflated
  • Do not drive through puddles of water, as they may conceal a pothole
  • Keep a safe distance when following other vehicles so you are able to see potholes in your path and allow enough time to react
  • Avoid driving on broken pavement whenever possible, as it may conceal potholes

Contact Our Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation

If a pothole caused your accident, you may be entitled to pursue compensation. The attorneys of Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak help injured clients pursue maximum compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Schedule a free, no obligation consultation to learn what legal options may be available in your situation. Since we take car accident cases on contingency, we charge no upfront fees to represent you.

Call (574) 444-0741 and speak to a lawyer today.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases