Who is Liable When NYC Potholes Cause Injuries?

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In 2022, the New York Department of Transportation repaired 37,624 potholes. The problem is pervasive, especially in the springtime. This is because potholes happen when precipitation soaks through the outer layer of asphalt to the road’s sub-base. When temperatures drop below freezing, the water expands, cracking the surface. When the water falls, a hole gets left behind. Until our roadway technology improves, there’s no preventing potholes. 

Both drivers and pedestrians suffer from pothole injuries every year. NYDOT reports an average of 15,000 pothole-related injuries between 217 and 2021. This may even be an underestimation, as many people do not report pothole injuries.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to sue the city when potholes cause damage to vehicles and people. A claimant must meet three criteria before the case can proceed.

  1. They need to show the Commissioner of Transportation received written notice describing the defect or hazardous condition.
  2. They need to show a city agency received written notice of an injury caused by a defect or hazardous condition.
  3. The city has acknowledged the defect but has failed to remove or repair the condition within 15 days of acknowledgment. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to be the one to send the first set of notices. People often notify the city that potholes exist long before anyone gets injured. 

In addition, the city might not be the only responsible party. The state of New York is responsible for state highway potholes, for example, if the injury or damage occurred between May 1 and November 15. If you see potholes on the highway but haven’t been injured by them, call 1-800-POTHOLE to report them.  

In addition, if you were injured in a car accident, you may still be able to sue the other driver if the pothole was only a factor in the accident rather than the sole cause of it.

Like all personal injury cases, cases involving potholes can be complicated. You can’t afford delays if you’ve been injured in a pothole accident. Contact us to get help right away so we may notify the proper city agencies about your pothole accident and pursue all applicable responsible parties for your injuries. 

It is possible to get reimbursed for your pothole injury expenses. You just need help from an experienced personal injury attorney. 

See also:

Understanding the Serious Injury Threshold in New York City

Myths and Truths About Personal Injury Cases in New York

How to Sue NYC for an Injury


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