You’re peacefully driving along and, wham, you feel a hard jolt as your car seems to nosedive into a deep hole in the pavement. If you’re lucky, hitting a pothole only knocks your car out of alignment. However, many motorists have fared much worse. Blown tires have sent vehicles careening out of control, resulting in serious accidents. Motorcyclists have been thrown from their bikes upon hitting potholes. Motorists swerving to avoid potholes have crashed into other cars.
A few potholes are inevitable after an icy winter. But, even without the extreme ice storms, Dallas-Fort Worth has experienced in the past, potholes have become a common menace on North Texas roadways.
Fort Worth District Department of Transportation officials blame heavy moisture and the need to wait for dry weather to patch up the pavement cracks and holes. This may explain new potholes, but what about the ones that have remained for weeks or years? These crumbling Dallas-Fort Worth roadways are causing dangerous driving conditions.
You might be able to avoid those potholes you know about by taking a different route or slowing down when you approach a familiar hole. However, even the most careful drivers cannot totally avoid the proliferating potholes that dot Dallas-Fort Worth roadways. And, with no signs or cones to mark them, you may feel the jolt of hitting the hole before you see it.
Suing the City
The AAA estimates that 15 percent of drivers nationwide need to repair their cars after hitting potholes every year and that, overall, costs arising from roadway problems equal $3 billion a year.
Dallas pothole problem is likely to grow bigger. In February, officials announced that a $1 billion bond package earmarked for road repairs will likely be delayed.
There is no dispute that the state and municipal governments are responsible for upkeep and repair of the roadways under their control. Unfortunately, getting the government to pay for its negligence is another story.
Pothole damage is one of the most frequent complaints made to TxDOT, yet officials say the agency is usually not liable for damages.
State and local laws limit reimbursement for roadway damage and accident injury claims. In addition, the process of notifying the government and filing a lawsuit is different than for suing an individual or a corporation.
This doesn’t mean recovering damages from the government is impossible, just that the process is much more difficult. Berenson Law Firm can assess whether you have a viable claim against the government for pothole negligence.
If you do not have a claim against the government, we pursue compensation recovery from from your insurance company.