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What Can I Do After a Car Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect?

Car Accident Lawyer

State and local governments spend billions of dollars every year. Unfortunately, they don’t spend the money it takes to repair potholes and road defects.

By one estimate, there are 55 million potholes in the United States. Some are merely annoying, but others pose a serious risk to drivers. Poor road conditions play a role in about a third of the nation’s fatal traffic accidents.

Potholes cause damage to suspensions, steering systems, and tires. Drivers who lose control of their vehicles may crash into a tree, overturn into a ditch, or cross a centerline and hit another vehicle.

When potholes contribute to car accidents, injury victims may be entitled to make a claim against the government that failed to maintain the road. Most states have established relatively short time limits for giving notice of a negligence claim against a city, county, or state government. A car accident lawyer can advise victims about the steps they need to take to protect their right to pursue a claim for compensation.

Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect

An injury victim’s first step after a car accident should be to seek medical attention. Serious injuries only become more serious if they are not treated. If paramedics advise a trip to an emergency room, it is foolish to say no. Even uninsured accident victims will receive an assessment and life-saving treatment.

When the severity of injuries is not immediately apparent, medical attention is still necessary. Injuries that aren’t causing significant pain might become increasingly painful as time goes on. Treating an injury immediately can prevent it from becoming a nagging or disabling injury later.

The ability to bring a successful injury claim for a pothole accident also depends on proof that the injury resulted from the accident. When injury victims wait too long to be treated, claims managers contend that the injury must have been caused by something else. The sooner an accident victim is evaluated by a physician, the more likely a jury will be to agree that the accident caused the injury.

Following through on recommended medical treatment promotes healing and helps accident victims collect full compensation for their injuries. Stopping treatment prematurely or missing appointments sends the message that the victim’s injuries must have healed. That makes it different to prove that additional treatment for a lasting injury was accident-related.

Preserving Evidence After a Car Accident Caused by a Pothole or Road Defect

If you are able to do so without endangering your health, you should try to take pictures of the pothole or road condition that caused your accident. Getting the names and phone numbers of witnesses who saw the accident will also assist your lawyer in proving that the negligent failure to repair the pothole contributed to your injury.

You can also protect your rights by contacting a car accident lawyer right away. Your lawyer may send an investigator to the accident scene to document the existence of the pothole before city workers have a chance to repair it.

Make sure you preserve your car in its post-accident condition. If your insurance company wants to take the car as salvage, do not release it without talking to your lawyer first.

The city may want to inspect the car to determine whether its damage is consistent with striking a pothole. If you have the car repaired or junked, you will deprive the city of that opportunity. A judge might then instruct the jury that your failure to preserve the car can be used as evidence against you. Before you do anything that might damage your case, it is wise to ask for legal advice.

If you have questions about a wrongful death case, please contact a wrongful death attorney today. 

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