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I was crossing the street at a crosswalk when I stepped into a pothole, twisted my ankle and fractured my ankle. I now need surgery and would like to know my rights. Can I sue?

 

A:

I really need more information from you, but based on the information you gave, you may be able to sue the party responsible for the maintenance of the street.  If your accident happened in Philadelphia, and depending on where your accident happened, either the City of Philadelphia or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be responsible.  Some streets in Philadelphia are maintained by the City of Philadelphia.  Some streets in Philadelphia are considered state roads, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would be responsible for the maintenance of those streets.

After determining the responsible party, whether the city or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a notice of intention to make a claim against the city or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must be given within 6 months of the accident.  Click here for information about suing governmental entities.

Another legal element we would need to prove is whether the responsible party had notice of the pothole.  In order to prevail in a pothole accident case against a Pennsylvania Commonwealth agency, there must be evidence that the agency received written notice of the pothole prior to the accident. 

In cases against local agencies like a city agency in Philadelphia, there must be evidence of actual or constructive notice.  Actual notice is whether the responsible party knew about the dangerous pothole. Constructive notice is whether the responsible party should have known about the pothole.

An example of actual notice is if the responsible party received notices and complaints from pedestrians about the pothole a year prior to your accident, then the responsible party knew about the pothole but didn't do anything about it.  In such a situation, you may bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. 

As you can see from my answer, we need more information to properly evaluate your case. Feel free to contact me, and I would be more than happy to discuss your unfortunate accident further @ 877.944.8396.

Click here to access legal articles discussing notice: Slip and Fall Accident on a Speed Bump - Who's Responsible? (Part A)


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