Potholes are everywhere and are disliked by all drivers. They can damage a car’s suspension or just be annoying as drivers strike them. In the worst cases, though, potholes can cause accidents that leave some drivers injured and many wondering why potholes were allowed to occur and why the potholes were not repaired before a serious accident happened.
After roads are constructed in Chicago, wear and tear occurs through regular use. The pressure created by vehicular tires on a road’s surface cause the top layer of a road or street to wear and break down, as does the heat generated by the summer sun and the weathering ability of rain water. Perhaps most destructive of all is the freezing and thawing that occurs with snow and ice in the wintertime. As water freezes, it expands, placing stresses on the cracks within the road. Melting ice runs underneath a road’s surface where it can again freeze, expand, and cause additional road cracking.
Drivers may not notice the early signs of wear on a road. The damage may be minor and pose little threat to safety. But as a road continues to deteriorate, the issues magnify, placing safe driving, the safety of motorists, and the well-being of all those in the area at issue.
Many drivers express frustration over the numerous potholes in the streets of Chicago as well as throughout Illinois. Often, these potholes are the development of weathering and wearing that occurs naturally but just because they happened without human intervention does not mean they should be ignored. Potholes that are not repaired will continue to worsen, deepen, and pose a hazard to drivers and their passengers.
Potholes can range in all shapes and sizes but any type of pothole can do serious damage. Driving over a pothole can knock a car out of a alignment, limiting a driver’s ability to maintain control of his vehicle. A larger pothole that is deep and wide can be too big for a car to handle, trapping one or more wheels in the pothole itself. In these accidents, the force of striking the stationary pothole can be similar to many front-end collisions that happen at a medium speed. In other situations, a pothole can cause a car to careen outside of a lane of traffic and into a bike lane, a pedestrian crosswalk, or another lane of vehicular traffic.
Though any pothole can present a danger to a car, truck, or van, motorcycles are at a particular risk for pothole accidents and pothole injuries. Most motorcycles only have two wheels and a narrower base than a car which means that when a motorcycle hits a pothole, much of the bike can be engulfed by the pothole, causing a serious accident. In the event that a pothole cause a motorcycle crash, the biker is likely to be thrown from the bike and onto the street, potentially causing serious injuries to the biker.
Drivers and passengers of cars may come into contact with potholes if those individuals park in a spot on the side of the road. In many parts of the city, street parking is permitted and may even be marked with painted lines. It is expected that people who use these parking areas will have to exit their cars in the same area, walking from the area immediately surrounding their car to a nearby sidewalk or crosswalk. When a pothole exists near a designated parking area and that pothole is not repaired, a city may be responsible for any injuries that result to a driver who trips and falls in the pothole and becomes injured.
Who is Responsible for a Chicago Pothole Accident?
Potholes can cause serious accidents and can be responsible for serious injuries but it is not always as easy to determine who is to blame for these crashes. Often, the city is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of local roads with the state of Illinois bearing responsibility for some state roads. However, city rules can vary and in some cases, multiple parties may actually be legally liable for the condition of the roads where potholes are present.
Without a foundation of knowledge regarding municipal liability and road conditions, it can be difficult to know who was responsible for protecting a road and who failed to take appropriate action, leading to an accident that caused victims to be injured. However, an injury lawyer can help you understand your accident and who may bear the responsibility in your case.
Often, if a city knows or should have known of the pothole and its dangerous condition, the city may be held liable for any damages that occur should it fail to repair the pothole. This knowledge can be difficult to determine and may require extensive research into past complaints, past accidents, historical weather reports, or even witness testimony to establish.
Victims of Chicago Pothole Accidents
If a pothole has caused your accident and you were injured as a result, the law may entitled you to bring a claim for your damages against the city or entity responsible for maintaining and repairing the road at issue. This claim can cover any actual damages you suffered including medical bills you incurred or likely will incur in the future, wages you were unable to earn while you were off work and recovering, and any pain and suffering you were forced to endure.
The law requires these claims to be brought within a specified period of time following an accident so it is a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we have experience representing the victims of accidents and helping them obtain settlements that they deserve. We believe that all injury victims deserve a free consultation so we make a lawyer available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575. If you have been injured, make sure you have the law on your side. Call us today and let us help you.
If you have been injured in a pothole accident, call us at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.