Colorado weather is very hard on city streets. The constant onslaught of wet, freezing weather followed by warm, sunny days makes potholes a part of daily life. While everyone does their best to avoid them, sometimes they are too large or too numerous to dodge. Sometimes this can result in substantial damage to your car or your body. At this point, you may wonder if you can sue the city for damages caused by unfilled potholes. The answer is yes, you can, but for your claim to be successful, you must pay attention to details.
What Information Do You Need to File a Claim for Pothole Damage?
There are specific steps to filing a claim against a government entity that is not typical for most personal injury lawsuits. Most importantly, before you can file a lawsuit, you must formally notify the city of the incident within 182 days of its occurrence. If you neglect this step, you will be ineligible to file a suit for your damages. Your claims notice must include the following information:
- Your name and address
- If you have an attorney, their name and address
- A detailed, factual statement of the incident, with pertinent information such as the date, time, location, and circumstances
- A report of the damages suffered from the incident
- The amount you are seeking to recover for damages
After you submit your claim, the city has 90 days to respond. If they reject your claim or do not respond, you must file a legal claim in court if you wish to pursue the matter further.
How Do You Prove Your Pothole Damage Claim?
As with any personal injury claim, you must be able to prove your version of events and show that the damages you suffered resulted from someone else’s negligent actions. In this case, you must show that the entity responsible for maintaining the road failed in their duty, which directly caused the damages to you and/or your vehicle.
One step to proving your case involves taking immediate pictures of the pothole and your vehicle’s damages. Remember to be safe while taking these pictures and avoid impeding traffic. Next, you should bring your car to a trusted mechanic and get a report of the damages and the cost to repair them. If you have been hurt, get a medical evaluation as soon as possible and track your medical expenses. It may require some research to prove that the city was aware of the pothole and shirked its duty by not repairing it promptly. An attorney can help you track down road maintenance records, which can be helpful.
What Are Some Challenges to Getting Compensation for Your Pothole Claim?
If you are attempting to obtain compensation from a city in Colorado for your pothole damage, be aware that although it is legally possible, it may be challenging. There are several reasons for this. First, many people attempt to make claims for damages caused by potholes on roads that aren’t maintained by the city or state. Many parking lots and side streets are considered private property, so the city cannot be held responsible for their condition. Second, to be considered negligent in their maintenance, the city must have failed to fill the pothole within a reasonable amount of time. However, what constitutes a reasonable amount of time is not clearly defined. So it can be difficult to prove that the state was responsible for your damages. If you are considering suing for pothole damage, you should contact a personal injury attorney for guidance to give yourself the best possible chance at a successful claim. Call our office today at 303-500-1376 to schedule a consultation.