Liability For Pothole Accidents In Oklahoma
Most car accidents are the result of driver error. There are, however, a significant number of crashes that are actually caused by issues with the road itself. From missing guardrails to potholes, there are a lot of different kinds of poor road conditions that can cause a serious accident. Unfortunately for those who are injured in these types of crashes, recovering fair compensation can be a bit more challenging, as it often requires the filing of a claim against a government agency.
What Causes Potholes?
Potholes are often the result of periodic freezing and thawing of the asphalt. With Oklahoma seeing its fair share of winter storms, it is not uncommon for drivers to encounter potholes on a fairly regular basis. Heavy traffic and excessive rainfall only exacerbate this problem, while in other cases, poor road design or the use of improper materials during construction could be the problem. Whatever the cause, potholes only get worse if left unaddressed, expanding and becoming ever more hazardous for drivers.
In Oklahoma, maintenance of highways and state roads is overseen by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, while county roads are maintained by the county commissioner and municipalities are responsible for maintaining their own streets. Basically, as long as a pothole wasn’t located on a private or toll road, a government agency is probably responsible for its maintenance. Unfortunately, government agencies are shielded from liability in a lot of cases, which can make it difficult to hold them accountable for failing to repair a pothole or other road defect that caused an accident. It is, however, possible to recover damages, especially for those who work closely with an experienced attorney.
Different Processes and Damages
One of the biggest obstacles that accident victims encounter when filing a claim against a government agency is the shortened timetable. For instance, even before filing a claim against the state, a claimant must first notify the agency through a Notice of Tort Claim and then wait 90 days for that agency to either pay the claim or deny it. It is only when this time period has expired, or the claim has been denied that a claimant can move forward with filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, claimants only have six months to file the lawsuit after the 90 day notice has expired. Claimants who file suit against a government agency are also often limited in how much they can recover after an accident, an amount that will differ depending on whether the damages involve personal injury or property damage.
Contact an Experienced Tulsa Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a pothole or other road defect, don’t hesitate to call the dedicated Tulsa auto accident attorneys at Levinson Law, P.C. to discuss your legal options. Call us at 918-492-4433 or fill out one of our online contact forms to set up a free consultation with a member of our legal team.