Some of the most common driving hazards associated with winter weather include slippery road conditions caused by snow, ice and freezing rain. Unfortunately, these wintery conditions combined with fluctuating temperatures and general wear and tear on the roadways can cause potholes to form. In addition to the damage these potholes can cause to your vehicle, they also increase the risk of serious car accidents, particularly if a pothole causes you or another motorist to lose control of the vehicle. If you were seriously injured in a car accident that was caused by a pothole, an experienced car accident lawyer can assist you with the claims process, determine who is liable for your injuries, and pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
What Property Damage Do Potholes Cause?
If you have ever hit a pothole while driving, you know that hitting a pothole can cause significant structural and mechanical damage to your vehicle, including:
- Tire blowouts and wheel damage. If the pothole is deep, and there are rough or sharp edges, it can puncture the tire or cause it to split. When this happens, the air inside the tire rapidly releases, which can cause a blowout. If the blowout causes you to lose control of your vehicle, or suddenly veer into oncoming traffic, causing a multi-vehicle accident.
- Damage to the steering system. The force of the impact can cause the steering components to become misaligned, making it difficult to steer and maintain control of the vehicle.
- Damage to the exhaust system. Deep potholes can cause the exhaust system to become damaged if it hits the ground upon impact. When the exhaust system is damaged, it can also damage the engine and put you and the other passengers in the vehicle at risk for carbon monoxide inhalation.
What Types of Injuries Do Potholes Cause?
In addition to the damage to your vehicle, potholes can cause injuries ranging from minor scrapes to serious head injuries. The following are examples of common injuries that are caused by pothole accident:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the force of impact causes your head to snap back and forth, which strains the tendons and muscles in the neck. If left untreated, it can cause chronic pain.
- Head injuries: If the force of impact from hitting a pothole causes the head to hit the steering wheel, the windows, or the steel frame, it can cause serious injuries like a fractured skull or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Blowout injuries. There are a wide range of injuries that can occur if a pothole causes a tire blowout. Examples include cuts, scrapes, strains, broken bones, and organ damage. In extreme cases, they can cause tragic fatalities.
Who Is Liable for a Pothole Accident?
Government agencies are responsible for maintaining public roads and taking the necessary steps to warn motorists about potential hazards, including potholes and dips in the pavement. However, most government agencies are immune from car accident lawsuits through the principle of sovereign immunity. While these laws protect government agencies from being sued, they can still be held liable if you can prove negligence. In order to have a successful claim, you must be able to prove the following:
- The government agency you are suing legally owned or controlled the road that had the pothole, which led to your accident.
- The road in question had a hazardous pothole at the time of the accident. If you can provide photographic evidence, this will help prove negligence.
- The condition of the road was the direct cause of the accident.
- The road condition was so poor that the government agency should have anticipated that an accident could occur, yet they did not fix the problem.
- The government agency’s failure to address the safety issue was a direct factor in the accident.
Savannah Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Victims of Pothole Accidents
If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a pothole, contact the Savannah car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will determine who is liable for your injuries, assist you with the claims process and pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. From our offices located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve all clients of Springfield, Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.