Are you one of the thousands of people who has hit a pothole? If the answer is yes, click here to learn the potential damage a pothole can cause.

How dangerous are potholes? Can an injury from a pothole accident be enough to file an injury claim?

 

A:

Every spring you can pretty much assume that you’ll see three things in Washington: wildflowers, Mariner fans, and potholes. Potholes are almost guaranteed as winter weather takes its toll on the roadways. Although you may not notice it during the winter, cold weather and precipitation accumulate in the cracks in the road, damaging its ability to withstand pressure. As warm weather melts that snow and ice, these holes—many of which are deep—become the number one road hazard for many Washington motorists.

Potential Pothole Risks

Although the occasional small bump while driving isn’t a big deal, when your vehicle suffers a jolting fall into a deep pothole, you and your car can suffer severe consequences. The same goes for motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Common pothole risks include:

Vehicle Damage

  • Tire blowouts and wheel damage. When a tire plunges into a pothole, the impact of the fall can cause the tire to split or become punctured by the loose gravel within the hole. This damage can allow air within the tire to rapidly escape and cause your tire to literally explode from the changing air pressure. Furthermore, the force of the tire hitting the pothole can also cause structural damage to the wheel, furthering the tire’s chance of being damaged. Once the tire or wheel is damaged, maintaining control of the vehicle can be difficult, causing you steering issues and potential collision risks.
  • Steering system misalignment. In addition to tire damage, the force of hitting a pothole can also cause internal vehicle damage such as steering misalignment and engine damage, both of which can cause potential accident risks.
  • Exhaust system damage. Depending on the location of the pothole when it is hit, the concussive bounce of the incident can damage your exhaust system. A damaged exhaust can not only put your life and the lives of your passengers in danger from inhalation, but it can also have cataclysmic effects on your engine.

Injuries to Occupants

  • Internal injuries and impact pain. In addition to potential impact damage to your vehicle, the jolting force of the bump can cause internal physical injuries. Force injuries can include tissue damage, whiplash, concussions, neck and spinal cord pain, and more. Furthermore, if the pothole results in the loss of vehicular control, you can also suffer from a host of collision injuries.   

Helping Others Avoid the Risks

You can help others by reporting potholes to the authorities. When you see a dangerous hole, contact the State Highway Authority and be sure to tell them the exact location of the pothole and how large it is. Your call could help prevent a serious accident.