Rain erodes the roads, notably creating potholes that make our lives difficult. Every year rainfall results in thousands of potholes to be repaired. States and municipalities registering an increasing lack of funding result in country’s roads not being properly maintained. Pothole vehicle damage has been a drivers’ headache for a long time, especially in areas with extreme winter weather conditions.
Getting reimbursed can be challenging, especially when claims are against government entities, where special requirements apply. Time limits and procedures to file a claim differ from other situations as well.
When a vehicle has sustained tire or wheel damage, pursuing damages for a few hundred dollars may not seem worth it to some people, and eventually, they give up the fight. However, damages may be crucial when injuries due to potholes concern motorcyclists or people driving at higher speeds, where injuries can be severe and life-changing.
The cost of remedying pothole-related damage depends on a pothole’s dimensions and can range from fixing a flat tire to replacing mechanical components.
Who is Responsible
It is relatively easy to determine who is at fault when two drivers get into a car accident, but when road conditions cause the accident, things get complicated.
The maintenance of the roads is usually the city, county, or state responsibility. In the case of a pothole accident due to negligent maintenance, the government is liable for the injuries or damages. A notice claim must be filed before filing a lawsuit when government agencies are involved. Also, there might be a 30-days time limit to file a claim requirement.
In Florida, car owners are required to have vehicle insurance. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that your insurance company will cover personal injuries and property damages up to the limits of your policy. There is a minimum coverage of $10,000 for personal injuries and $10,000 for property damages. When the insurance does not fully cover the damages, you can claim compensation from the party at fault and liable for the road maintenance.
In general, the government is protected from legal action against them by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Government actors may not be sued without their consent, and in tort actions, state law waives the liability. However, state law imposes a cap on available damages.
On your side, you must find a way to prove your property damages caused by a dangerous and defective road due to government negligence. If someone had noticed the governmental entity of the road’s hazardous condition before your automobile crash, this could be used in your favor.
The state of Florida and its municipalities can be responsible for covering damages up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per tort claim.
The Division of Risk Management must be notified in writing within three years’ time frame from the incident. Then there is a waiting period of 180 days before filing a lawsuit. This is the time needed to investigate and find out whether they are responsible for your injuries and damages.
In the best-case scenario, the government agency may resolve your claim and avoid court. Nevertheless, if your claim is denied, or the department exceeds the 180-day period without any response, then you are entitled to proceed with litigation. This is where an experienced car accident attorney in Tampa is needed to protect your rights. The filing of a claim process varies in each municipality.
Depending on which governmental agency has jurisdiction over the road where the pothole-related accident took place, your car accident attorney can advise you where and how you will need to file your claim. Compliance with each agency’s or municipality’s procedures, specific forms, timelines, and notice-of-claim requirements is mandatory to be awarded the full compensation you deserve for your damages.
When a road strip is under construction and a pothole vehicle accident occurs, the construction company is usually liable for the damages.
Contact Us Today
If your vehicle is damaged in a pothole-related accident, and you need advice from a car accident lawyer in Tampa, contact us today at Winters and Yonker Firm and arrange for your free consultation appointment. We will analyze your case and make sure that you get the compensation you deserve.