Ride along many Oakland streets, and you'll likely have to swerve all over the road to miss the potholes. If you hit a pothole, it can damage your car's tires, alignment and suspension. Hit one while riding your bike, and you can not only damage your wheel, but also suffer serious injury.
According to a Metropolitan Transportation Commission pothole report, Bay Area roads get a 67 out of 100 for their pavement condition. Not good. Firestone rated San Francisco as one of the Top 10 cities with the worst pothole problems.
If you encounter an especially dangerous-looking hole, don't just grumble. Report it.
Potholes reported to the City of Oakland are more likely to get fixed. By taking a few minutes to fill out an online form, you'll help ensure better road conditions for everyone.
Why report potholes?
Your report helps make roads safer for everyone. Safer roads means fewer accidents due to hazards, which keeps people out of the hospital and out doing things they enjoy.
In some cases, a SeeClickFix report also puts the city on notice of a hazard. That notice can be used as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
The three requirements for liability on a governmental agency are:
1. Dangerous condition of public property.
2. The governmental agency knew or should have known the dangerous condition existed.
3. The governmental agency had sufficient time to repair or warn of the dangerous condition.
See Click Fix information is useful for the plaintiff's lawyer. The more times people report a specific hazard, the more weight that evidence holds for the "knew or should have known" part of the claim.
While an online report could help, it's not the only factor that determines the outcome of a claim.
Most personal injury claims involve a determination of comparative fault. Even if the plaintiff can prove all three elements listed above, a jury can still find the plaintiff partly responsible. Was the plaintiff looking at the road closely enough? Was he distracted? Sleepy? Was the hazard near the plaintiff's house, meaning she passed by it so many times she stopped noticing it?
Personal injury claims involve dozens of variables and nuances. An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the nuances and can formulate the most persuasive argument.
In the meantime, keep reporting those potholes to help keep our roads safe.
Does reporting potholes really work?
It does. Repaving streets takes time and enormous resources. Public Works employees can fill potholes relatively quickly, provided they know about them. That's where you come in.
How do I report a pothole?
To report a pothole, graffiti, illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles, call 311 or file a report online. There's also a mobile app for iOS or Android. You'll need the exact location. A photo helps, too.
If you're a cyclist, make sure Bike East Bay receives notice. When reporting an issue, make sure to include the words "bike", "bicycle" or "cyclist." That will flag the issue in the Bike East Bay watch area. Bike East Bay works with the city regularly on road issues; their support is a big advantage.
To make extra sure they have notice, report the hazard to Bike East Bay directly.
Did you suffer serious injury due to a pothole or defective storm drain? Call our office for a free consultation.
Photo courtesy of Flickr