Poor road conditions result in about one-third of all traffic accidents and related fatalities in the U.S. each year. Among the leading poor road conditions that might lead to car accidents are potholes, which can cause damage to cars and personal injury-related medical expenses. In addition, big potholes may impair large vehicles and pose a danger to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Typically, potholes may result in drivers losing control of their vehicles, while some accidents may occur due to drivers swerving to avoid them. While accidents related to potholes are avoidable, any vehicle damage and injuries to victims have a right to seek compensation for their losses. But who is liable for your damages after an accident caused by a pothole in Arkansas? Read on to find out.
What Are the Dangers of Potholes in Arkansas?
Pothole accidents can result in severe injuries and extensive property damage, requiring costly medical care and extensive recovery time. Common injuries associated with pothole accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Neck and back problems
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
In addition, catastrophic car accidents caused by potholes might lead to the death of people involved in a crash.
Since poor road conditions increase the chances of motor vehicle accidents, potholes in Arkansas can result in various damage to the vehicle. These include bent wheel rims, premature wear and tear on shocks and struts, flat tires, damaged undercarriage, and wheel misalignment. If your car has been damaged due to a pothole on the road in Arkansas, you can pursue compensation to recover losses.
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The Government Is Responsible for Maintaining Roads
Roads are primarily maintained by the states, counties, and cities, ensuring all road users access efficient modes of transportation. However, if your car gets damaged or you are injured because of bad road conditions, you may file a lawsuit against the government when seeking compensation. For instance, in Arkansas, you may sue the state for any damage you might suffer if you are involved in an accident caused by potholes on the road.
However, you will need to prove that the government acted unsafely or irresponsibly to maintain the road to win your claim. Generally, the government can discover road dangers through individual reporting or by conducting regular surveys, but the process of fixing road issues may result in a pothole. Sometimes, unsafe construction zones might cause potholes on the road, meaning you will hold the construction company liable for your damages.
Who Is Liable for a Pothole Accident Claim in Arkansas?
With the government responsible for maintaining roads, it is a party liable for compensating road users hurt or vehicles damaged due to road conditions. In Arkansas, every city has to ensure roads are free from defects. However, if the city officials knew about the pothole or acted negligently and failed to repair it, that city is liable for all crashes caused by that pothole.
Arkansas is an at-fault state where the party responsible for the accident is held accountable for the damage that has been caused. For example, if a construction company led to a pothole that caused your accident, the company is held liable for your losses. This means that you will have to file a claim against the party responsible when seeking compensation.
Can You Sue the City for a Pothole Accident?
You can sue the city, county, or state officials if you are involved in a car accident caused by a pothole because it is the government’s responsibility to provide safe road conditions. However, several aspects exist to hold the city accountable for your damages, including:
- Whether the government was aware of the pothole or other related poor road conditions
- Whether the government discovered the pothole during a routine roadway survey
- How long the pothole has been around, and if the government ignored to repair it
If city officials knew about the pothole and did not have an adequate amount of time to repair the pothole, the government might not be responsible for its damage. In addition, if the pothole was yet to be discovered before a regular roadway survey, the government may not be liable.
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Can You Pursue an Insurance Claim for Pothole Damage?
Arkansas law allows people involved in car accidents caused by potholes to pursue compensation and recover their losses. However, you should sue the responsible party; primarily the department tasked with maintaining different roads in the city, county, or state. If you are a car accident victim involving a pothole, here are the steps to take to help you make an insurance claim for pothole damage:
- Determine the pothole’s location, take photos and note nearby landmarks like businesses.
- Identify critical aspects of the accident, such as the car’s travel direction and street name.
- Record contact information of witnesses
Before pursuing compensation, it is essential to contact the relevant authority to determine the department responsible. This helps prepare and plan your claim, especially when multiple parties are involved.
Providing Proof of a Pothole Claim in Arkansas
When pursuing compensation for a pothole claim in Arkansas against the government, you have to provide evidence to prove that it is liable for your damages. The city, county, or state may admit fault, but if not, you need to verify that the accident occurred due to the government’s failure to repair the pothole. Some options to consider when the government denies your claim include:
- Request past survey records
- Research and interview locals to show that the city, county, or state should have known about the pothole.
Since making a pothole accident claim against government departments may become difficult for most people, hiring a car accident lawyer is essential. The intent is to ensure you understand your legal options and receive maximum compensation.
Contact a Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
At Morris Bart, we understand how complicated pothole accidents can be, especially when determining liability. If a pothole caused your crash in Arkansas, our car accident lawyer could help you prove liability and obtain a maximum financial settlement for your damages. Contact us and schedule a free consultation today.
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