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Who's Responsible For Pot Hole Damage?

Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on May 24, 2011 in Advice

Time and again, particularly in states that experience a full four seasons, potholes are cited as a major cause of traffic accidents, and the ensuing injuries and damage to cars. Drivers in Indiana are particularly aware of the long-term wear and tear that cars experience on our roads, as well.

Time and again the question is asked: "who is responsible for the damage caused by a pothole?"

Well, the short answer is: it's complicated. The State of Indiana mandates certain standards by which road quality is judged, and the Indiana Department of Transportation has broad jurisdiction over the upkeep of the state's highways. The Federal Government has jurisdiction over the expressways throughout the state, though these are generally maintained by the individual state or county, under Federal authority. In general, the smallest government entity (generally the County) presiding over the area where the accident occurs is most directly responsible for the upkeep of roads, in accordance with State and Federal regulations.

With us so far?

Often, when pursuing a case for personal injury related to potholes, multiple agencies and municipalities may be involved in the negligence that lead to the injury, and it can be very difficult going into a case to know exactly who is to blame. Different roads fall under the purview of different authorities, and may even be held to different standards, in some cases.

To make matters worse, the State of Indiana mandates that a tort claim against the State must be filed within 270 days of the loss incurred.  That may seem like a long time, but waiting to hear back from several agencies, while repair and medical bills start to pile up, can make that time pass quickly. That's why it's important to contact the South Bend personal injury lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak as soon after the accident as possible. We can get the ball rolling on the legal process before it's too late, and we have the knowledge and expertise to know how best to approach a complicated situation like this.

By the time you go to court, we'll make sure that you have the knowledge you need to be confident in your case, and we'll be fighting for you every step of the way.