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Can You Sue for Car Crash Injuries Caused by a Pothole in New York City?


Potholes, depressions, and other defects in the roads are not just unsightly — they can be extremely hazardous and lead to collisions that result in severe injuries. Unfortunately, potholes are often difficult to see and can’t always be avoided until it is too late. In the event a pothole accident occurs in New York City, the City (as well as any other negligent parties) may be held liable for your damages if certain legal criteria are met.  

Liability for Pothole Car Accidents in New York City

While potholes may seem like common occurrences in New York City, they are typically in areas with poor drainage and heavy traffic conditions. When these locations are not properly maintained, the resulting depressions can lead to traffic accidents. But it’s crucial to understand that the City isn’t automatically liable for every pothole accident caused by failure to properly maintain the roadway — it must have had prior written notice of the defect.                                                              

Specifically, under Section 7-201(c)(2) of the Administrative Code of New York City, the City may be held legally liable for a pothole accident if the following criteria are met:

  • The City received written notice of the hazardous condition
  • An injury was caused by the dangerous condition
  • The City failed to remedy the condition within 15 days of written acknowledgement

The notice requirement is key to establishing the City’s liability in a personal injury lawsuit. However, if it can be shown that the City created the defect due to its own negligence, a pothole accident victim can still pursue a claim against the City.      

In some cases, there may be other parties who can also be held accountable for a pothole accident. For instance, if you experienced a tire blow out when you struck the pothole, the manufacturer may also bear some of the responsibility for any resulting injuries. Depending on the circumstances, other drivers on the road may also share blame for the accident.      

Recoverable Damages for Car Accidents Caused by Potholes

Car accident injuries caused by a pothole can range from mild to severe — while no-fault insurance may cover up to $50,000 of your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages, this may not cover the full extent of your damages. If you suffered what New York State defines as a “serious injury,” you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury action to recover your economic and non-economic damages.

An award of economic damages covers monetary losses such as unreimbursed medical bills, lost wages, lost future earnings, and out-of-pocket costs in connection with the accident. Non-economic damages refer to the impact the accident had on various aspects of your life. This category of damages covers losses that are not pecuniary in nature. Rather, non-economic damages compensate for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries and the loss of enjoyment of life you were caused to suffer.         

Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney

Commencing a lawsuit against the City of New York can be complex. There are various legal requirements that must be met and specific statutes of limitation of which to be aware. If you were in a car accident caused by a pothole, it’s essential to have a skilled personal injury attorney by your side who can assist you with recovering your losses. The personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have been representing car accident victims for more than 30 years. They are committed to securing the best possible results in every case.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.