Potholes are the worst. There is nothing redeeming to say about them. Many cars have been hapless victims while attempting to get to their destinations on Illinois roadways.
In many states and municipalities a driver can receive money toward car repair if they have car damage as a result. It is best to check state and local laws in your vicinity. In Chicago, the city will partially pay for damage resulting from potholes. In most instances, potholes need to be reported first before anyone can collect on a claim. Forms can be picked up at the city clerk’s office. Outside of Chicago the rules may get trickier. Some roads are under the jurisdiction of the state, not the municipality so that will affect where a driver will need to make a claim. To add even more confusion some roads are maintained by a municipality even though they are technically under the jurisdiction of the state. One unfortunate Illinois driver has a claim in limbo as a result of these confusing and convoluted rules.
Fortunately the state of Illinois is setting aside funds and receiving federal funds to deal with more road, bridge, and traffic maintenance. As more drivers become aware of their ability to file a claim in the state, instances of pothole reporting have increased and the road repair crews have paid more attention to these calls.
In some rarer instances, potholes can lead to personal bodily injury. Many of these are the result of potholes in sidewalks or other public areas that have not been adequately maintained. Walkers can trip and fall under these circumstances. States in municipalities vary in their laws on the subject but in Illinois the government entity may be liable for a failure to exercise ordinary care in an instance where the plaintiff was making ordinary use of the public property. An injured person must also show that they were the permitted and intended user of the property. The Supreme Court of Illinois has drastically narrowed the liability to an injured person by only extending liability for potholes on public streets if the person was injured walking across a crosswalk. Vaughn v. City of West Frankfort 166 Ill. 2d. 155 (1995). Further, the court held that bicyclists that hit potholes on sidewalks were not intended users and a municipality has no duty if a pothole would not damage or injure a vehicle or driver on the road. Children on bicycles would be a separate issue since they are intended users of sidewalks and would be subject to the same liability as other intended users.
If you have been injured by a pothole, it is best to see an attorney as many outcomes can be specific to the particular facts. An attorney can advise you of any necessary next steps and determine if you have a claim that is compensable.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in an accident involving a pothole please call one of our attorneys atDavid K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.