What can you do if you’re badly injured in a car accident caused by a pothole?
By: Darrell Castle
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a pothole, you may be entitled to compensation. Call me today at (901) 327-1212 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.
Can you sue the government for potholes?
Hey, I’m Darrell Castle. I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and the answer to that question is “yes,” but it’s very very difficult to recover.
See, governments are covered by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. That means they can’t be sued unless they give you permission to sue them. And most governments have that through the Government Torts Liability Act.
Tennessee has a version of that act, for example. It gives you permission to sue the government under certain circumstances, so if you’re in an accident that you think was caused by a pothole and you’re injured in that accident, you have to be able to prove certain things in order to prevail.
You have to be able to prove that the government – whether it’s the city or some other government entity that might be covered by T-DOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation). You’ve got to be able to prove that the government, from the defendant, knew about the pothole and was able to fix it, with proof.
So how would you go about proving something like that? Well, you would do it through the introduction of records. You would get records of frequent repairs at that location – how many times has it been repaired in the last year? Have there been any other accidents at that location? Has anyone else hit that same pothole and had a serious accident? Have there been any calls from neighbors saying “there’s a terrible pothole outside my house.”
Finally, does it meet national safety standards and guidelines?
All of those things go into proving your case, but you have to ask yourself – is it worth it? Is it worth the cost of doing that? And the answer to that is it won’t be unless you have a very serious accident. It has to be a very serious matter before you go through the time, trouble and expense of gathering the evidence to make that kind of proof, and then possibly not being able to gather the evidence. In other words, your case is not provable. Those are all possibilities.
If you have a very serious accident resulting in death or paralysis, or severed limbs – or something along the seriousness of that, then it would certainly be worth that effort.