If I hit a pothole and busted one rim and cracked another, is the county responsible for the damage?

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If I hit a pothole and busted one rim and cracked another, is the county responsible for the damage?

It happened on a county road.

Asked on November 21, 2011 under Accident Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, a county (or city, or state) is only liable for damage done by a pothole if they had notice of the pothole. That in turn requires that either the pothole have been reported to them, or at least that some construction work, etc. was done nearby, and it's reasonable that the county, etc. workers would have seen and reported the work--or that there had been some recent inspection of the road, or that some other work done by the county had caused the damage (e.g. while repairing one thing, they somehow created the pothole). In short, either the county knew of the pothole or reasonably *should* have known.

As you can imagine, it is not easy or common to recover money from the county for a pothole--that's not to say it can't be done, but it's a high hurdle. You should probably discuss the matter in person and depth with an attorney (many provide a free initial consultation to evaluate cases), to see how strong the case is, what it might be worth, and what it might cost to pursue; then you can make an informed decision as to what to do.


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