Last Friday, the Washington State Department of Transportation released an article explaining that road improvements will be made on I-5 and SR 528. Anyone who has driven on either highway knows, this is welcome news and long overdue.
Have you ever experienced driving down the highway and damaged your vehicle because of a construction project or pothole? Is it your fault that there is a gaping hole in the middle of a road where everyone is going 50+ mph and you couldn’t swerve into another lane to avoid it? We certainly don’t think so.
Here is a list of things to keep in mind in order to make a claim if your car is damaged due to a construction project or road defect on an interstate or state highway:
- Note the road you were driving on at the time the incident occurred.
- Note your direction of travel.
- The exact location of the pothole, construction zone, etc.
- What the road hazard was (how big, how deep, etc.).
- Any witnesses and their contact information.
*rule of thumb, as mentioned in yesterday’s post: What to do after a car crash and if you need to file an accident report, your phone is your friend. If possible, take as many pictures as you can, it could make the process of filing a claim a whole lot easier.
Filing the claim
If you damage your car from a construction crew’s negligence, the company in charge of that particular crew could be liable for damages. If you damaged your car from a pothole or defect in the road due to poor maintenance, then different steps must be taken in order to make a claim against the responsible governmental entity. According to Nolo, a reputable legal website, “if you think you may have a claim, you will need to find out which government body is responsible for maintaining the road in question.” Give the county commissioners’ office a call to see if they are responsible (if they are not, they should be able to tell you what other government agency may be responsible).
Remember, once you find out who is responsible, you may have LIMITED TIME to give them a notice of your claim, particularly if the responsible party is a governmental entity. Nolo has an article that breaks down the timeline for filing a claim, how long they have to respond, and more.
You do also have the option to file a claim with your own car insurance carrier. Your insurance carrier may then pay on your claim and seek reimbursement from any responsible party.
The governmental entity will try to help if you can prove your claim, but it may take time
Here is a good news story that appeared on KIRO 7 on April 30, 2015 to help you understand the process for making a claim.
GLP Attorneys has ample experience when working with automobile accidents and highway design cases. Attorneys Bryan Prince-Olsen and Kaitlin Roach have excellent experience and are more than able to assist if you may have any questions.