How to Report Dangerous Road Conditions in Oklahoma City
If you have had a car accident, suffered a fall or been hurt because of a pothole or other dangerous road conditions in Oklahoma City, you can do more than get angry about it. One thing you can do is report the problem so the powers-that-be know they need to fix the problem. You can also seek compensation for your losses.
You may have seen the recent report by The Oklahoman that said a rainy spring put Oklahoma City (OKC) public works crews behind when it comes to filling potholes. The OKC Public Works Department normally fills 80,000 potholes per year, or about 1,500 per week, the newspaper said. Rain in May and June put crews behind, so the city put more people on the job and authorized overtime work to get 30,000 potholes filled by the third week of July.
The primary take-away from the article is that OKC wants to take care of problems like potholes, broken sidewalks, obscured crosswalk markings, and overgrown highway medians.
You may not realize that you can report problems to the city online and request action. The online service request is for non-emergency problems, including issues with streets, traffic lights, drainage, and potholes, among more than dozen categories.
It’s certainly worth your time to report a pothole or similar problems if you see them. Hitting a pothole can cause several thousand dollars’ worth of damage to a car, as well as potential injuries if a car that has hit a hole crashes into another vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist. Other problems, like unkempt crosswalks and sidewalks, or broken curbing, can also lead to pedestrian accidents, such as falls, twisted ankles, and bicycle accidents.
The Oklahoman says OKC paid more than $8,500 in a single month to motorists who hit potholes and filed claims. But that figure only reflects payments to motorists who took the time to make a claim, the newspaper notes.
Oklahoma City Pays about Half of the Claims Reported
A KFOR, News Channel 4 report from early 2014 says the city paid an average of $21,887 a year for pothole-damage claims from 2011 to 2013. The report also shows that the city pays about half of the claims filed. The money paid for vehicle repairs does not reflect the accident victim’s lost time and income and other expenses associated with such an accident.
If the city had been notified of a pothole but had not repaired it when at the time a motorist hit it, the motorist may be entitled to claim compensation. If the city was unaware of the pothole and therefore had no chance to repair it, a claim would probably be denied.
This fits with the basic standard of premises liability law. A property owner has an obligation to ensure their premises is reasonably safe for visitors, but must be allowed a reasonable amount time to discover and mitigate any hazard by repairing it or posting warnings where immediate repair is not possible.
As personal injury attorneys who pursue car and pedestrian accidents, as well as premises liability cases, we recognize that OKC is not necessarily the only party that can be held responsible for damage and injury due to potholes, or broken pavement. In some cases, for example, a contractor may be liable if it can be shown that its construction, maintenance or repair work was faulty, and that led to the accident. This is also true of slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases on public property, as well as car accidents.
So reporting a pothole, broken sidewalk paving, malfunctioning crosswalk lights, or other dangerous conditions makes the city aware of the problem and creates a financial incentive for the city to repair it. But, money aside, reporting problems helps make OKC safer when the report leads to necessary repairs.
You can read more on the OKC website about filing a claim with the city. You’ll see that it’s far from a simple request for payment due. As the city suggests, you may want to consult a private attorney about your rights and legal options after an accident.
In fact, Burch, George & Germany can assist you immediately after a car, pedestrian or slip-and-fall accident or any other personal injury claim in the Oklahoma City area. We’ll investigate to determine what party or parties may be liable to you, and work to recover all of the compensation you are due for your property damage, medical expenses, lost income and more.
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