According to a recent study, the average Long Island driver pays $719 a year in damages from driving on rough roads. Potholes and other types of road damage are a far too common site on highways across Nassau and Suffolk counties, damaging rims and tires.
The Washington-based transportation think tank TRIP calculated the average amount that Long Island drivers pay each year for driving on poorly maintained roads. This amount includes repairs plus accelerated vehicle depreciation and increased fueled consumption.
Unfortunately, you cannot sue your town or city because you damaged your rims after hitting a pothole. However, according to a Long Island Car Accident attorney, if a poorly maintained road caused an accident, you may have a cause of action against the government responsible for maintaining it.
How Poor Road Design and Maintenance Can Lead to Accidents
On Long Island, our roadways are designed to withstand a relatively heavy amount of traffic. But we live in an area of the country that experiences changing temperatures. One day in spring it might be 60 and sunny, and the next day, it may snow. These conditions may lead to deterioration in road conditions or (every Long Islander’s least favorite thing) pot holes.
In some cases, roads on Long Island were poorly designed to meet the demands of modern life. The civil engineer who sketched out a road 50 or more years ago may not have anticipated that so many people would live here, or that there would be so much development in the area around the road that it would become unsafe to cross at certain intersections.
When roads are poorly designed or maintained, accidents can happen at any time. If a driver hits a pothole, he or she might get into an accident as their car skids out of it. Alternatively, a driver might get into an accident attempting to avoid a particularly large pothole. These types of road problems can lead to single vehicle or multi-car wrecks.
If poor road design or maintenance is at fault for an accident, you may be able to bring a claim against the city, state, or another governmental entity responsible for maintaining the road system. For example, if the city is responsible for trimming back the trees and bushes along a roadway, and fails to do so, an accident caused by your inability to see a stop sign covered by the overgrowth might be the city’s fault.
Filing a claim against a governmental entity in New York can be complicated. There are different rules that govern these types of claims, including different time limits. However, if you have been hurt due to the negligence of a city, municipality or state entity, you may be entitled to recover for your damages.
Claims Against the Government Have Special Rules in New York
In all personal injury cases, there is a time limit to file a legal claim against the responsible party. This is known as the statute of limitations. Generally, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is three years in New York.
For personal injury claims against the government, however, the statute of limitations is shorter. If you suffered an injury due to the negligence of an employee or agency of the government, you have a shortened time period in which to file a claim. If you fail to do so, then your case might be barred completely.
Under New York law, you have 90 days to file a formal claim against a city in New York. You then have one year to file a lawsuit against the city.
For a county, you have 90 days to file a formal claim. After the claim is filed, you have a one year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit.
If you have a claim against the state of New York, you must have a claim with 90 days. If you cannot arrive at a final claim amount within those 90 days, you can file a notice of intent to file a claim within that 90 day period. Lawsuits against the state must be filed in the Court of Claims.
Work with a Long Island Car Accident Attorney
While many of us would like to sue our city or town for damage due to potholes, that is sadly not an option. However, if you have been in a car accident due to poor road maintenance or design, you may be able to file a claim against the government.
Since 1987, Winkler Kurtz, LLP has represented clients who have been injured in a range of accidents. We are dedicated to working with clients to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Call us at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a Long Island Car Accident attorney.