Ditch and Pothole Accidents
Many California roads have potholes and uneven surfaces. Sometimes car accidents arise out of ditches and potholes in the road, rather than the negligence of another driver. If you have been hurt in a ditch or pothole accident in Southern California, you may have grounds to bring a premises liability lawsuit for damages. Most roads are owned by a governmental entity, which means that there is a very narrow window within which you must provide notice to the owner and file suit. The procedural requirements for these types of claims are strict, making it especially important to consult a Los Angeles premises liability lawyer right away.Bringing a Claim After a Ditch or Pothole Accident
In California, a public entity that controls a road or freeway may be liable for a pothole or ditch accident if you can show that the road was in a dangerous condition at the time that you were hurt, the injury was legally caused by the pothole or ditch, the pothole created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury that you suffered, and either:
- The public entity's negligent or wrongful act caused the ditch or pothole; or
- The public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition created by the pothole or ditch far enough in advance of the accident to take steps to protect others and you against the dangerous condition.
When a pothole arises out of ordinary, long-term wear and tear, it may be difficult to show how long the pothole was present. Generally, if there has been a surface break only for a few days, it is unlikely that you will be able to hold the governmental entity responsible for the accident. A few days is not necessarily enough time for a repair to actually take place or warnings from the government to be issued. However, if a governmental entity does not repair a pothole for months, a court is likely to find that it had constructive notice such that it should have made a repair or issued a warning. In particular, if there have been other earlier car accidents or bicycle accidents as a result of a ditch or pothole, the court is likely to find that the government had actual or constructive notice and should have made repairs or put up warnings.
Sometimes a pothole or ditch accident is actually a result of the government's inadequate temporary or permanent repairs. Generally, sufficient warning is supposed to be given of dangerous conditions during times that repairs are being made. This may include blocking off the street or placing cones around the area.
In some cases, a city or state contracts with a private company to repair a roadway. This alone does not make the government immune from responsibility. You may have grounds to sue both the government and the private company. Since one of the claims is against the government, however, you should make sure to consult an attorney with experience in this area right away.Retain a Knowledgeable Premises Liability Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area
Under the California Tort Claim Act, you will need to give notice to the proper entity no later than six months from your accident, and the notice must include very specific information. At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our Los Angeles premises liability attorneys may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries after a ditch or pothole accident. We understand the government procedures at issue and have the trial experience necessary to skillfully negotiate with the government's attorneys. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free consultation with an injury attorney. Our firm also represents injured people in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Bernardino, and other Southern California cities.