You’ve Just Hit a Pothole

You’re driving along, enjoying the autumn weather when out of nowhere there’s a massive pothole in the road and no way to avoid it. You hit it, destroy your suspension, ruin your tire, pull over to the side of the road. What do you do next?

You probably hit the steering wheel in frustration, call your car insurance, and then do a little math to see just how much you can afford to put into fixing a car you weren’t expecting to have to fix.

After all, you have to have your car, but there’s a feeling of injustice that you should have to fix it when it’s someone else’s fault it’s broken. Just like in hit and run accidents that damage your car, it doesn’t feel right that a pothole the local government hasn’t gotten around to fixing is the cause but you’re on the hook to pay.

Or are you?

In theory, at least, you can file a claim with the local city council and ask to be repaid for the damages incurred. This is theory not because filing a claim is difficult but because getting repaid is. According to Time magazine, local governments rarely pay up, and when they do, it is only a small portion of the total expense. Chicago, as referenced in the article, often only pays a portion because it feels that hitting a pothole is at least partly the fault of the driver. That may or may not be true in every instance, but that is the perspective of city councils around the country: it’s your fault, good luck getting us to help you out.

Many places are even harder on drivers. Colorado Springs rejects 98% of the claims it receives because of its strict standards. Those standards include requiring someone notifying the city of the pothole and then two weeks passing to give the city time to repair it. Since the likelihood of both standards being met is slim, there’s almost no point in submitting a claim there.

Even for those who do get reimbursed, it can take a long time to get the money. Chicago Magazine claims it takes that city about 18 months from the time of the accident to get a check in the mail.

Of course, there are more aggressive tactics that can be explored. Hiring a lawyer who works with road defects, like the lawyers of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, may force the hand of a town or city, but how often do potholes do enough damage to be worth the time and money of a lawyer? Again, quite rarely.

So, it seems, no matter where your car ran into that pothole, north, south, east or west in this country, the best thing is probably just to bang on the steering wheel and fix what you can when you can. Though you might think the government has more responsibility to help you out in such situations, this is not the case.


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Car Accidents – Who is at Fault?

Proving someone else’s fault during a car accident is an immensely challenging task. If you have been involved in a car-related incident, the decision whether you or someone else is at fault can tremendously affect both parties involved. Apart from the financial damages the party at fault is obliged to pay, they may also be subject to criminal liability that could affect their personal and professional lives.

Proving that someone else is at fault in a car accident would help injured victims deal with the financial damages brought about by long recovery period and lost time at work. But although proving someone else’s fault in an accident is typically a challenging task, here are some scenarios wherein you can be sure that the other party is almost always to blame:

  1. If you were hit by a left-turning car – In most cases, left-turning drivers are required to give way to drivers going straight. However, if the driver coming from the other direction is moving past the speed limit or has just run a red light, he/she might be at fault
  2. If you were rear-ended – Laws require drivers to be extra vigilant when hitting the road, and that includes maintaining a safe distance wherein the driver can safely apply brakes when the car in front suddenly stops, regardless of the reason

The website of The Benton Law Firm says that although some road-related incidents are purely accidental, most cases have been a result of another party’s negligence. Distracted driving and driving under the influence, for instance, account for a majority of car-related accidents in the country. Other possible causes of accidents include defectively manufactured car components, and substandard wheels and tires. In such cases, the victim may have the right to seek damages from the negligent manufacturer involved.


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What You Need to Know about Defective Tires and Their Risk of Car Accidents

On Monday, August 10, BFGoodrich has issued a voluntary recall of eight of its BFGoodrich commercial light truck tire sizes after receiving reports that the affected tires may lose air pressure due to a defective sidewall, making the vehicles more prone to tire-related car accidents. The company said the recall affects approximately 129,000 tires, 104,000 of which were sold in the U.S.

This is just among the country’s many tire recalls initiated by some of the biggest tire makers after learning about design and manufacturing defects that pose inherent risk to property and lives. Tires are the car’s direct contact to the road. When damaged, it may compromise the driver’s control over the vehicle, which may result in disastrous accidents.

According to the website of lawyers Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, defective tires could be a result of one or more of these factors:

  • Faulty tire engineering
  • Defective tread design, which may compromise the tire’s traction or grip
  • Use of substandard materials, for instance, the use of a low-quality rubber and ineffective adhesive
  • Improper tire installation, for instance, improper tire mounting and rotation

According to the website of the LaMarca Law Group, P.C., being involved in a major car accident caused by a defective tire could cause a person to be badly injured. Apart from the injuries, patients would also have to face hefty medical bills and longer recovery period that may put a strain on their finances.

However, you should always keep in mind that even if a tire-related car accident is minor, for instance, if the accident left no visible mark of damage to your car, the website of McCutchen & Sexton – The Law Firm says that it is not a bad idea to seek medical attention for any possible injuries you may have sustained unsuspectingly during the crash.


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