Potholes are common, not only in the rural countryside of Illinois, but also throughout the Chicago area.
Wear and tear and weather conditions can cause the top layer of the asphalt to wear away and expose the base layer, creating potholes. Rainwater further accelerates the process, making the potholes larger. Harsh weather conditions such as ice storms, rainstorms, and snow help to create innumerable potholes that become a cause of various car accidents.
A small crack or pit in the road surface can absorb water over time, and when this water freezes, it expands the crack. Later, when this water thaws it allows absorption of more water making the hole bigger. This cycle can quickly increase the size of a pothole, making the area dangerous for the commuters.
Potholes and Vehicle Damage
A small pothole can cause serious damage to a car and put a strain on its shock absorbers and suspension system. According to traffic experts, a large pothole can cause damage similar to a vehicle being involved in a crash at 35 mph. Every year, a large number of pothole-related car accidents are reported. A car accident can occur when a driver loses control while driving over a large pothole. At a high speed, the vehicle can be thrown into the opposite lane.
Liability in Pothole-Related Car Accidents
It is difficult to determine liability of a car accident caused by a pothole. The city of Chicago and other surrounding municipalities are legally responsible for the repair and maintenance of roadways and highways. Liability results when the city or municipality had the knowledge of damage or defect, or should have known about it, but failed to repair the damage.
In some cases a driver who causes a collision in an attempt to maneuver around a pothole can also be held liable for the accident. Even if the driver asserts that he or she had no other option in the situation, the claimant can contend that the other driver failed to keep a proper lookout and caused the collision as a result.
Chicago Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a pothole, you should understand your legal rights. It would be in your best interest to consult a Chicago car accident attorney. Call Willens & Baez at (312) 957-4166 for a case evaluation.