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Claiming against a city for dangerous roads

If your car hits a pothole and you're injured, who is going to foot the bill? There's a chance that it's the city that should be covering the costs for your injuries and your vehicle repairs, but will it pay? Your attorney can help you seek out a claim, but you first have to figure out who can be held liable for the damage that has been done.

It's important that you file a claim against the locality responsible for that pothole, but getting the city to pay isn't as easy as it may seem. Anywhere in the country, a driver has the right to file a claim when a vehicle is damaged due to road conditions that should have been addressed by the local public works crews. For instance, if an earthquake causes dangerous bridge crossings, those bridges should be closed and repaired. If they aren't and a person is hurt while crossing, the chances are that the city is responsible.

The problem is that many cities are difficult when claims come up. They may try to avoid paying or pay only when they absolutely have to. This makes claims difficult, since they may drag on for many months or victims may face low-balled settlements.

One way some cities try to get out of paying is to check and see if the road conditions have been reported. If not, it can't be reasonably stated that the city knew about the damage, so it had no time to repair it. If it was reported, then the city needs enough time to send workers to do the repairs; that could be as long as two weeks.

Source: TIME, "Your City Could Pay for Car Damage Caused by Potholes. But It Probably Won’t," Brad Tuttle, accessed Jan. 27, 2016

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