If a Pothole Causes My Car Accident, Who Is Liable?

Cogburn Law
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Madeleine Jones
March 11, 2019

Roadway defects commonly cause car accidents in Nevada. Poorly maintained roads, heavy traffic, and lots of wear and tear can result in hazards such as cracks and potholes. These hazards can be dangerous for drivers, who may suffer property damage, an auto accident, or personal injuries from driving over or around them. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident caused by a pothole, contact a Las Vegas attorney as soon as possible as you may be eligible for financial recovery from an at-fault party.

Potholes Caused My Car Accident

How Can a Pothole Cause an Accident?

Poor road conditions put drivers at risk. The integrity of the roadway could be all that prevents serious accidents. A roadway with a pothole cannot reasonably ensure the safety of drivers. A pothole, or a cavity in the road from the erosion of rock, is dangerous. Striking a pothole could cause tire blowouts, loss of vehicle control, and serious accidents. A driver swerving to avoid a pothole could career off the side of the road, or enter lanes of oncoming traffic and cause a head-on collision.

Vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and bicyclists are more at risk of potholes and roadway defects. Depressions or holes, loose gravel or rocks, erosion, missing guardrails, and debris in the road can cause serious or fatal cycling accidents. Motorcycles and bicycles cannot roll over roadway defects as easily as motor vehicles. Injuries a victim may sustain from a pothole-related crash include broken bones, road rash, head and brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

Liability for a Pothole in Las Vegas, Nevada

Public roadway maintenance is the government’s legal responsibility. The city, county, or state may be liable for maintaining a roadway in Las Vegas depending on ownership. More than one government entity may share responsibility for road maintenance. The state of Nevada, for example, might have the duty to fill potholes and repave roads, while the city of Las Vegas may be in charge of street sweeping and debris removal. The government has many responsibilities in terms of roadway maintenance.

  • Routinely inspecting Las Vegas’ roadways for defects or hazards.
  • Regularly maintaining roadways, including cleaning the road and ordering repairs.
  • Repairing parts of the roadway that have defects, such as potholes, in a timely manner.
  • Repaving the road, if repairs are not enough to restore the road to a safe condition.
  • Shutting down or providing a detour for a road with dangerous defects during repairs.
  • Posting signs warning drivers of known or existing hazards.

The government has special funding for roadway repairs. It should use this funding to conduct roadway repairs within a reasonable period of time. The government entity in charge of roadway maintenance (or the property owner, if on a private road) must not wait longer than is necessary to repair a pothole. It must act as a reasonable and prudent party would in the same situation, to repair the defect in a timely manner.

How to File a Claim Against the Government in Nevada

If a pothole on a public road recently caused your auto accident, you may have grounds to file a claim against a government entity in Nevada. First, identify who has jurisdiction over the road where your crash occurred. It may be the state, city, or county government. Then, follow the steps to bringing your claim.

  1. Learn your deadline. Claims against the government can have shorter deadlines than typical lawsuits. In Nevada, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your accident.
  2. File your claim. Name the appropriate defendant, and submit a written claim with all required information to the Nevada State Board of Examiners before your deadline. The Board will have a specific amount of time to accept or deny your claim.
  3. Prove liability. You or your lawyer generally must prove that the pothole caused your car accident and injuries. This may take photographs of the road defect, accident re-creation, police reports, and eyewitness testimony.

Contact A Car Accident Lawyer Now To Take On The Government

A car accident lawyer in Las Vegas can help with every aspect of your pothole-related accident claim. Contact an attorney for assistance naming the right defendant, bringing your lawsuit, and proving liability in Las Vegas.

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