Who is Responsible for My Virginia Pothole Accident?

Whether you have a long daily commute or only drive on weekends, safe roadway conditions are critical to your safety behind the wheel. Unfortunately, Virginia roadway conditions are often hazardous due to inclement weather or insufficient maintenance, cracked asphalt can cause huge potholes to form and increase the chances of a serious car accident.

Who can be sued when a pothole causes a car accident?

When you are injured in a car accident, you could be entitled to obtain financial compensation from the careless driver, but when your accident is caused by the roadway itself, it can be hard to tell who is responsible.

An experienced Virginia car accident lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will know the most beneficial methods of determining liability and seeking full and fair compensation.  

Roadway Maintenance and Pothole Accidents

The local government is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the roadways inside its jurisdiction. Similar to a motorist’s duty of care, the government is obligated to maintain its roadways in a reasonably safe condition and promptly respond to any hazards, including potholes. If a government agency, such as a county, city, or the state of Virginia itself, fails to properly maintain its roadways and repair potholes in a timely fashion, not only could the pothole cause or contribute to a car accident, but the government could potentially be held financially liable. 

In order to show that the government failed in its duty to maintain a roadway, you will have to prove that they were aware of or should have been aware of the hazardous condition that caused your accident. This is often extremely challenging since you will have to determine when the pothole first began to appear. If, however, you can find evidence that someone called or otherwise contacted the appropriate government entity to report the pothole, then things become much simpler. 

Knowing when the dangerous condition first appeared is important to your case because the government agency has to have ample time to address and repair the issue.  

Reporting Your Pothole Accident

If your pothole accident left you unharmed, you can choose to report your accident to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Handling your accident in this manner could secure restitution for your vehicle repairs. If you were injured in the accident, however, this is not a wise approach.

When you file a VDOT report, you will have to provide:

  • Pictures showing the location of the pothole and the pothole itself.
  • Pictures that show the damage to your vehicle.
  • Receipts or a written estimate of repair work.
  • Any additional supporting and relevant documentation.

The VDOT does not instantly reimburse you the moment they receive your claim submission. First, they perform a thorough investigation of the accident, determine if the pothole has been previously reported or documented, and if road repair crews have had enough time to repair it. If they decide that the time between the formation of the pothole and your accident was not enough to allow them to fill in the pothole, your claim will most likely be denied. If, however, the investigator concludes that crews had adequate time to repair the pothole and simply didn’t, then you could be compensated for any damage done to your car.

Damages Caused by Pothole Accidents

Regardless of what vehicle you drive, potholes are a road hazard. They can damage axles, ruin suspension, deflate tires, and cause injuries. Although potholes exist everywhere and don’t really sound like a serious danger, they can leave pothole accident victims with severe injuries.

Most drivers notice potholes at the last second and often try to circumvent them by swerving. Unfortunately, this knee-jerk reaction puts you and those around you in danger of an accident. 

The most common damages experienced during pothole accidents in Virginia are: 

  • Property Damages
      • Bumper damage 
      • Suspension damage 
      • Wheel and tire damage 
  • Physical Damages
    • Whiplash
    • Tailbone injuries 
    • Head injuries 
    • Back and neck injuries 

Talk to a Virginia Pothole Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a pothole accident in Virginia, speak to a Virginia car accident attorney as soon as possible for dependable legal guidance. You might have grounds to file a lawsuit against a government agency pursuing compensation for your injuries and property damage. Call the Virginia Beach law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774 to arrange a free case review with an experienced member of our legal team.   

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