My Car Quest

November 27, 2021

Potholes in the Street – Is a Claim Worthwhile?

If you fall due to a pothole in the street, is it worth making a claim? Life can spin on a dime. You can be out for a simple walk when you trip and fall and change your life forever. If you tripped on a pothole, you may be able to sue a property owner or the city in which the accident took place. According to one expert lawyer whether or not you should make a claim will depend on the circumstances of the accident.

Potholes often occur in places where the weather changes rapidly and this is one of the reasons New York has so many of them. Poor road maintenance of these holes will cause them to get bigger and bigger. Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx are known for having a very large number of potholes.

What to Do if you See a Pothole

If you notice a pothole on a New York street, you should call 311 and report it. They will ask you for the location of the pothole and the direction of travel. It is a very good idea to back up that phone call with a written request. Putting maintenance requests in writing officially puts the city on notice. The city only has 15 days to repair the pothole and if they don’t, they will be liable for any accidents the pothole causes.

What to do When You Fall

If a pothole causes you to fall, you should seek medical attention even if you feel okay. There are some injuries that are not immediately apparent. Take pictures of the hole if you can and get the name and number of any witnesses that may have seen what happened.

How do I know if I have a case?

Although it is not absolute, you will have a more winnable case if you were obeying the rules of the road when you fell. If you were jaywalking instead of using the crosswalk, it may work against you if you file a claim. If you were inebriated, it may hurt your case as well.

If you walked across the street at the crosswalk when you had the right of way at a reasonable pace, you are more likely to convince an insurance adjuster that the spill was entirely due to the pothole itself.

If the pothole had been reported to the city in writing, you will have a good chance of getting a settlement. If you fell on a privately owned street, you would want to file an accident report with the owner of the property. The owner’s insurance should cover your bills.

If you are trespassing on the property, you may not be entitled to damages. You will want to discuss any exceptions to this rule with an attorney.

Do I really need a lawyer?

If you make a claim against the city or an individual or company, it is always good to have a lawyer to advocate for you. Tight-fisted insurance companies are unlikely to offer you what you deserve. A personal injury attorney will have years of experience in negotiating with insurance adjusters. They will be able to do the appropriate research to find out if the city or property owner had a sufficient amount of time to repair the hole.

Anyone can take a tumble, but a good insurance settlement can soften the blow.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

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Photo by Marc Olivier Jodoin from Unsplash.
Summary
Potholes in the Street - Is a Claim Worthwhile?
Article Name
Potholes in the Street - Is a Claim Worthwhile?
Description
Potholes often occur in places where the weather changes rapidly and this is one of the reasons New York has so many of them.

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