Commuters, delivery drivers and stay-at-home parents who need to get from point A to point B in a hurry probably know the headaches that come with pothole damage. One could be going through their mental checklist while sipping their first coffee of the day when BANG, an unseen pothole breaks their calm morning and feels like a sledgehammer to their tires.
Before we go over what can be done in the moments after hitting a pothole, let us take a look at how they are formed in the first place.
How are potholes formed?
Our modern roadways are built tough but are far from indestructible. The main culprits that our roadways face are water and heat, both of which, Florida has in spades. Though our friends to the north can also blame freezing temperatures, for the Sunshine State, the water that lies just below the roadways, along with extreme heat, can cause cracking. Once cracking has begun, the wear and tear from roadway use and the elements can quickly expand the crack into a gaping hole that can easily cause pothole damage to vehicles or lead drivers to dangerously swerve to avoid the hazard or brake unexpectedly.
What should you do if you see a pothole or your vehicle is damaged?
If you are on your commute and spot a potentially dangerous pothole, report it as soon as possible. There is a handy website called Asphalt 365 that has collected the department phone numbers of cities and counties for easy reference as soon as you have stopped your motor vehicle. Reporting a pothole can go a long way in helping others avoid costly repairs and possibly dangerous driving conditions.
However, if you are the victim of an unseen pothole that results in damage to your vehicle, is there anything you can do to cover repairs? Is it not the responsibility of the city or county to maintain their roadways? Well, unfortunately, fighting for the cost of pothole damage can be a challenge.
In one case reported by WFTV, a man out of Orange County, Florida hit a pothole on Pioneer Road, a high-traffic side street off of Silver Star Road, resulting in $600 of damages to his rim and tire. When attempting to get Orange County to provide compensation for repairs, he was surprised to find that the county was not legally responsible for damages based on one critical fact in this case: they simply claimed to be unaware of the pothole at the time of the incident, releasing them from liability.
As seemingly unfair as this may seem, unless the county can be proven to have known of roadway damage and done nothing, chances are you will have to foot the bill for pothole damage. This is why reporting a pothole as soon as possible is so incredibly important for every motorist to do. If we all report potholes before they become gapingly dangerous, we may help our fellow drivers (and ourselves) avoid a lot of headaches in the future.
If you believe that your accident or car damage was caused by the negligence of others (even the county or state), please contact an attorney who specializes in car accident litigation before giving up on your case. We understand how difficult it can be to determine whether or not to move forward in seeking compensation, but it is well worth asking an expert. Drive safe and may your commutes, afternoon drives or delivery routes remain pothole-free.