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potholesLOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (February 7, 2024) – Many roadways across Los Angeles and Southern California have been hammered by torrential rains which has lead to the creation of numerous dangerous potholes.  In Los Angeles County alone, there were an estimated 159 new potholes created by the heavy rain. There are even reports of a pothole 4 feet across along Paxton Street in Pacoima.   Numerous vehicles became disabled after hitting some of the potholes. By Monday night, L.A. city crews were already working to repair the damage.  These potholes are not just an inconvenience to drivers and cyclists. They can also be lethal hazards. Caltrans is offering $10,000 to drivers of vehicles injured by potholes on freeways.  The personal injury attorneys at Samer Habbas & Associates are available to help victims injured by these dangerous potholes. Our law office can examine the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued.  Don’t wait if you’ve been injured. Contact us today for a risk-free consultation at 949-727-9300.

Liability For Car Accidents Caused By Potholes

Accidents involving potholes may seem like freak occurrences, but they are actually quite common. According to the AAA Newsroom, “A new survey from AAA found that last year 1 in 10 drivers sustained vehicle damage significant enough to warrant a repair after hitting a pothole. With an average price tag of almost $600 per repair, damage caused by potholes cost drivers a staggering $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.” There are many reasons that potholes can be dangerous. 

  • Pedestrians and cyclists can easily lose their balance and fall if they hit potholes.
  • Drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicles if they hit potholes. This is especially true for motorcycles which are less stable than four wheeled vehicles.
  • In certain instances, drivers can be injured by the heavy damage sustained from hitting a large pothole in the road.

Depending on the facts of any case, a city or municipal entity could be liable for an accident involving a pothole in the roadway. Pursuant to California Government Code section 835, a public entity can be liable for an injury caused by a dangerous condition on public property. This is true insofar as a plaintiff establishes the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, and that the injury created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury that occurred.  Two additional factors must also be present. (A) The dangerous condition was created by a wrongful act or omission of an employee working within the scope of their job duty. (B) Alternatively, the public entity in question had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition under section 835.2 and sufficient time prior to the injury to protect against the dangerous condition. A city may have gotten a report about a large pothole in the roadway and still failed to act all the same.  Consider, for example, Cordova v. City of L.A. (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1099, 1105. The court held that, “Public property is in a dangerous condition within the meaning of section 835 if it ‘is physically damaged, deteriorated, or defective in such a way as to foreseeably endanger those using the property itself.” In the event that a pothole or other road condition has caused serious accidents in the past, this should move the entity in control of the roadway to take corrective action. It is important that certain steps are taken after any accident involving a pothole. 

  • Photos of the accident site should be taken.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • Medical records related to the accident should be preserved.
  • The rough date that the pothole was created should be understood.
  • An experienced personal injury attorney should be contacted.

It can be hard to know where to begin after any accident involving a pothole. There is obviously no person at the accident site to take insurance information from. Many people involved in these accidents will blame themselves. But the truth of the matter is that municipal entities must act within reason to protect against potholes and other roadway defects. Any person that is injured after hitting a pothole may have legal recourse through a civil claim. It is important to seek legal counsel early on after any accident. These types of cases can be very complex and necessitate the collection and preservation of large amounts of evidence. 

Investigating Southern California Car Accidents Caused By Potholes

We at Samer Habbas & Associates extend our best wishes to all of the people injured by heavy rain and potholes across Southern California. It is our sincere hope that city officials will work quickly to fill dangerous potholes so that no one is needlessly injured or killed. No one should ever become a victim of poor road conditions that are easily fixable.  Have you or someone that you care about been injured by a pothole in Southern California? You may be entitled to financial compensation. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys are here to fight on your behalf. We have consistently achieved exceptional results in the courtroom and have recovered over $250,000,000 for our deserving clients. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney, we are here for you. You can contact us at 949-727-9300.