As a result of your recent car crash, you received a serious shoulder injury that required surgery followed by a program of physical therapy.
What government entity was responsible for repairing the pothole that caused the crash, and how is that related to the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA)?
Under the CTCA, accident victims have the right to file a claim against a government agency or employee for negligence related to the incident. Negligence can apply in various ways:
- Failing to inspect roadways for defects on a regular basis
- Ignoring road conditions known to be dangerous
- Not posting warning signs about a known hazard
- Failing to respond to pothole complaints
- Failing to repair a pothole in a reasonable amount of time
- Patching potholes with inferior asphalt
An agency of the city or state government is responsible for ensuring safe roads. If you and your attorney believe that the pothole was the cause of the car accident and your resulting shoulder injury, you must notify the appropriate agency in writing that you intend to file suit. You must file the notice within the six-month statute of limitations. The agency has the option to settle with you or else deny liability.
Liability and compensation
If the agency chooses to settle, your attorney can negotiate maximum compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. If the agency refuses to settle in a reasonable fashion, your attorney can arrange for a court trial, and you must be able to present evidence of negligence. This might include pothole complaints from other drivers and photos of the pothole itself.