Who Is Responsible For Auto Damage Caused By a Pothole in Kentucky?

The last thing that anybody expects is that they will be involved in a vehicle accident caused by poor roadway conditions. However, potholes are everywhere. In some situations, roads are so marred by defects and potholes that they can be difficult to drive on. But who is responsible for vehicle damage as a result of a pothole? Here, we want to discuss who is responsible for roadway maintenance as well as how to prove a pothole damage claim in Kentucky.

What Damage Can Be Caused By Potholes?

Most people simply think of potholes as an inconvenience. However, the reality is that potholes can lead to significant damage to a vehicle.

Potholes begin as water seeps into the cracks of a roadway. Temperature changes over time can cause the water inside of the payment to expand and contract, leading to eventual weaknesses and structural collapse of the pavement.

Various parts of a vehicle can be damaged as a result of potholes, including the following:

  • Tires. The tires are the first place that hit a pothole, and they can sustain significant damage. If there is great enough force, a sudden shift of air in a tire can cause the sidewall to blow out.
  • Wheels. Hard angles of potholes can lead to severe damage to a vehicle’s wheels. This could include scrapes, bends, or cracks. Wheels are not cheap, and any damage can lead to a significant financial setback for a vehicle driver.
  • Suspension and steering. It is not uncommon for individuals who strike potholes to notice their car pulling to the right or to the left. A hard enough hit to a pothole can lead to suspension, steering, and alignment issues.

Severe potholes can even lead to a person being involved in a serious auto accident. If a person strikes a large pothole, this could cause them to lose control of their vehicle. It is not uncommon for potholes to cause drivers to run into other vehicles or run off the road altogether. This can lead to significant property damage as well as personal injuries.

Who is Responsible for Roadway Maintenance in Kentucky?

In general, we will find that government authorities are responsible for maintaining the roadways. This can include state, county, or city governmental agencies. In theory, because the government is responsible for maintaining the roadways, they should also be responsible for any damages that result from potholes if the roads are not kept reasonably safe.

However, properly defining “reasonably safe” here can be challenging. The government is not going to be responsible for covering damages simply because there was a questionable condition on the roadway. In fact, government agencies often argue that they did not know about a pothole and should not be responsible for any vehicle damage.

State law does allow government agencies a reasonable amount of time to discover bad roadway conditions as well as a reasonable amount of time to repair them. Governments usually only find out about major dangerous potholes if individuals report the problem or if they discover the pothole through regular surveys of the roadway.

How Do I Prove My Claim?

In order to recover compensation for pothole damage to a vehicle, individuals will need to show that the dangerous condition has been around long enough that the government should have discovered it. An individual will also have to show that the government has had a reasonable amount of time to repair the issue.

When making a claim, it will be important to have the following information:

  • The location of the pothole
  • The name of the road
  • The direction you were traveling
  • Physical characteristics of the pothole
  • Names and contact information of any eyewitnesses

If you are able to do so after a pothole accident occurs, you should take photographs of the damage as well as the pothole and the surrounding area. You may need to contact a skilled vehicle accident attorney who can look into your claim and determine whether or not a governmental agency will be responsible for covering your damages.