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Dangers of Potholes in New Orleans: Who Is Liable for Your Damages?

Posted in Car Accidents,Motorcycle Accidents,Truck Accidents,Wrongful death on June 9, 2020

For most drivers, potholes and other road damage is a fact of life. Typically, drivers will do whatever is necessary to avoid potholes and other roadway damage. Drivers hope this will help keep their vehicles from being damaged. After all, bent rims, punctured tires, and broken axles cause a broad range of problems. Damaged cars and lost time from work for repairs may be only the beginning. Roadway problems can also cause serious injury.

A report cited from the Times Picayune shows the level of disrepair found on New Orleans roadways, and roadways across Louisiana.  The report shows:

  • Two-thirds of New Orleans streets are in poor or worse condition
  • Costs to bring roads to “fair” condition are estimated to be $3.6 billion
  • Only 14 percent of New Orleans roadways are considered to be in “good” condition

According to data compiled at LSU, Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation, there were more than 1,100 accidents involving serious injury on Louisiana roadways.  Additionally, more than 600 accidents involved a fatality. A closer look at the data shows many of these accidents because of roadway conditions. This often means those who suffer an injury, lose a loved one, or have damage to their cars as a result of road conditions are uncertain who is responsible. Oftentimes, victims of poor roadway conditions who have been involved in an accident or had their car damaged turn to the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC for information and answers.

Louisiana Roadway Statistics

The Pelican State is home to more than 3.4 million registered drivers and annually welcomes 53.1 million annual visitors. This significantly impacts the condition of our roadways.  The Louisiana Capital Regional Planning Commission has actively participated in developing a process working with others in the state to identify areas where roadway improvements may help reduce accidents. Not only could this mean fewer injuries but may also reduce road departure accidents, and fatalities. In the meantime, however, drivers will be forced to contend with damages to their vehicles and the potential for being involved in an accident due to the conditions of the roads.

Roadway accidents resulting in damages or result in your suffering an injury wind up costing you money out-of-pocket. Repairing your car, medical bills, and time lost from work all add up quickly.  Therefore, contacting an attorney who has experience dealing with auto accidents resulting from defects in the road is a necessity. You cannot fight a municipality on your own, you need someone who has the skills going up against an entity who has a large legal team on their side.

When Road Conditions Result in Damages or Accidents

There is no easy answer to assessing blame when an accident or damage is caused due to road defects. The reason for this is there may be multiple parties responsible for maintaining our roadways. Some roads are maintained by counties, while others are the responsibility of the town, state, or federal government.  In some cases, these entities may have split responsibility. This means one party may be responsible for filling potholes while others may deal with water removal, leaf removal and other maintenance. There is a further complication when you are either an accident victim or someone who has a damaged vehicle because many government agencies cannot be sued.

The reason many governmental agencies cannot be sued is due to a legal theory called state sovereign immunity.  In effect, this means unless a victim has permission from the state, the victim is unable to pursue damages. This is  true even when the fault of their injury or damage to their property can be easily proven to be as a result of negligence by such agency. Louisiana does allow lawsuits against state or a state agency or political subdivisions with certain limitations. These limitations include:

  • Lawsuits must be filed only in a state court
  • The dollar amount of a claim cannot exceed $500,000
  • Funds must be deposited in a reversionary trust

There are other restrictions applied to claims which a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC  can explain and help you understand. Some restrictions define how the funds must be used, and what happens in the event of death of a victim for whom the trust was established. You must be aware of these restrictions so you understand how they may impact a potential settlement.

Understanding Your Options and Rights

If you are one of the thousands of drivers who has suffered vehicle damage thanks to the poor condition of Louisiana roads, were involved in an accident which was a direct result of road conditions, or lost a loved one on a roadway in disrepair, you should immediately contact an attorney to discuss your options and ask them about your rights. The sooner you do this, the better because waiting may hamper your ability to file a lawsuit.

While other states often provide victims two or three years to file a lawsuit, in Louisiana, the statutes of limitations states all claims for damages pertaining to roadway accidents must be filed within one year of the accident.  More information about the statutes of limitations may be found in Louisiana’s Civil Code §3492.

Addressing Your Concern About Lawsuit Expenses

One of the issues that potential clients at the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC often raise is money. Victims are naturally concerned about the potential of needing to pay expenses to file a lawsuit. You pay nothing up front when you work with our skilled personal injury attorneys.

Going up against a government agency is not easy but if you do not try to recover the financial losses you suffered, you could face additional financial challenges. If you have lost a loved one, suffered damage to your car, or you have been injured in an accident on Louisiana roadways and you believe roadway conditions were the primary cause of the accident, contact the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC today at 504-500-5000 and schedule a free consultation.