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Can I Sue if I Fall on a Pothole in Philadelphia?

Posted on May 31, 2023

If you fall on a pothole in Philadelphia and suffer an injury, you may have the right to sue. However, whether your claim is successful can depend on a number of factors.

Location of the Accident

The first factor is the location of the pothole. If the pothole is on a public road or sidewalk, your ability to sue may be limited by governmental immunity laws. These laws are in place to protect government agencies from being sued for accidents that occur on public property. However, you may have a stronger case if the pothole is on private property, such as in a parking lot.

Evidence of Negligence 

To sue the property owner or the city of Philadelphia for a pothole injury, you must be able to prove that they were negligent in their duty to maintain the roads in a safe condition. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care, which resulted in harm to another person. In the case of a pothole injury, this may involve establishing that the pothole was dangerous, that the city or property owner knew or should have known about the pothole, and that they failed to take reasonable steps to repair the pothole in a timely manner or warn of it.

This will require evidence, such as photographs of the pothole and the surrounding area, witness statements, medical records, and any other documentation that can support your claim. You will also need to show that the pothole was the direct cause of your injuries and that you suffered damages (e.g., medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering) as a result.

Government Immunity

In Pennsylvania, like many other states, the government generally has immunity from personal injury claims resulting from potholes or other dangerous road conditions. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Under state law, a government agency can be held liable for injuries resulting from a dangerous road condition if the agency had “actual notice” of the pothole and failed to take action to correct it within a reasonable amount of time. Actual notice means that the agency had actual knowledge of the pothole or that it was so obvious and apparent that the agency should have known about it.

Additionally, if the government agency created the dangerous condition or was engaged in some other form of intentional misconduct, such as failing to follow established safety standards or regulations, then they may be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

Time Limits on Pothole Injury Claims

If you decide to sue for injuries sustained from a pothole, there are specific time limits known as the statute of limitations, within which you must file a lawsuit to recover compensation. The deadline for most personal injury claims is two years. However, if your claim is against the government, you must file a claim against a government unit within six months from the date you sustained the injury. If you miss the deadline, Pennsylvania law will dismiss the action. Contact our experienced lawyers right away if you believe you have a case.