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Goldstein and Bashner

What to Do if You have Car Damage or an Injury Due to a Pothole on Long Island

Long Island road with pothole damageBetween the seemingly endless snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain on Long Island this winter, our area roads and highways have been cracked, torn and littered with craters. In addition to causing unsafe driving conditions, these potholes have been busting tires and bending rims.

Robert Sinclair, spokesman for AAA New York, noted that there has been a notable increase in calls for help from motorists on Long Island, jumping to 46,077 calls in first two months of this year from 36,953 in the same period last year. Calls for flat tires increased to 8,890 from 7,370 in the same period last year, he said.

Likewise in our offices, we have seen an increase in car accident calls due to potholes on poor road conditions. “We’ve gotten munerous calls just from Hempstead Turnpike alone,” said partner Robert Bashner.

Can I get reimbursed for the damage caused by potholes?

Possibly. The government is in charge of maintaining roads and keeping them safe. However, they must have prior notice of a dangerous condition and are given reasonable time to fill in potholes after a severe storm or other cause. It does not hurt to try. First you must find out if the road is overseen by the state, county, town, village or city. If you are not sure, you can call the town highway department where it happened.

Once you determine which government body is responsible, you will need to give the government body notice of your claim within 90 days for New York State and most municipalities. One unfortunate note for New York State Roads--they are exempt from liability for pothole damage for incidents that take place from November 15--April 30, which is the height of pothole season.

Each county, town and village has different requirements of what is needed to prove your case. For example, Town of Hempstead requires the exact location, plus pictures of the location and of damages. Most towns want a notarized signature. Some, such as the Town of Babylon, require two estimates of damage. The Town of Islip doesn't require pictures.

Helpful links:

Report the Incident No Matter What

Whether or not you decide to make a claim, you should report the poor road condition. This will help ensure the pothole is repaired and also puts the state on notice to help others who may incur damage from that pothole. For potholes on state highways and thruways, you can call 1-800-POTHOLE.

What If I Am Injured?

If you suffer injuries in addition to the car damage, you maybe able to file a lawsuit. These are difficult cases so it is important to have an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Long Island's roads and knows how to present the best case to get you the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved on were injured due to a pothole, please call our Long Island Personal injury lawyers to find out more about your legal options and get answers to your questions. There is no fee or obligation.

Have questions or need further help?

Give our Long Island accident lawyers a call at 516-222-4000 or fill our webform. We provide free, no-risk consultations and are always available to answer any question or concerns you have.

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