You are crossing a busy New York intersection when you step into a pothole and break your leg. Or maybe you lose your footing and slip, causing broken arms and head trauma.
This is not an unusual situation, especially in New York, where millions of vehicles travel the state’s roadways on a daily basis. Roads can only handle so much until they start to crumble. Some crack, while others leave deep indentations. They are so deep that when a car hits it, it can cause flat tires, damaged wheels, and more.
This is a major inconvenience to New York drivers. Not only that, but it can also be costly. When you factor in a new tire, new rims, a rental car, and the cost of towing, you are looking at $1,000 or more in costs due to a pothole that the city should have fixed.
Potholes are dangers to pedestrians, as well. Many people choose walking as their main mode of transportation. A person not expecting a deep pothole in the middle of a road can become seriously injured.
What if this happens to you? Who is responsible? Can you file a lawsuit and recover compensation for damages?
Who is Responsible for Fixing Potholes?
If you have suffered injuries due to stepping in a pothole, you may be able to file a lawsuit, but it will not be easy. First you have to determine responsibility. In villages and towns, most streets are considered state roads. Highways are governed by the state Department of Transportation or the Thruway Authority. Each city is responsible for roads within their jurisdiction.
In most cases, to be held liable, the states and municipalities need to be informed of the pothole’s existence before the accident occurred. Therefore, if you see a pothole—even if it has not caused any damage—you should report it. You can report it by calling 1-800-Pothole. It will then be added to the worklist.
There is a catch, though. According to New York Highway Law, the state is exempt from liability during certain times of the year. Between November 15 and May 1, the state is not liable for damage caused by potholes on state roads. County and locally owned roads can be held liable any time of the year, but they need to have what is called constructive notice. If the accident happened on a state road, damages are capped at $5,000.
Get Legal Help from a Brooklyn Personal Injury Lawyer
Injuries caused by potholes can be serious. Some drivers have had their cars made undrivable due to potholes. Falling in a pothole can cause broken bones, lacerations, head trauma, and other injuries.
If you have suffered damages due to a slip and fall in a pothole in New York, it is a good idea to seek legal help. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum can help you file a pothole injury claim. We can assess your case, determine the liable parties and hold them responsible. To schedule a consultation, call our Brooklyn office at (718) 237-5586.