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Sinkholes…Who Pays?

Sinkhole.Residents of Raleigh, North Carolina recently had to deal with road closures thanks to a sinkhole. This unusual occurrence raises an interesting question to residents: Who pays for vehicle damaged caused by sinkholes?

Unfortunately, the answer may not be the one you hoped to hear. If your vehicle has been damaged by a sinkhole, you better hope your insurance pays up. The city is not typically liable for the damage. But why? Because, unless you can prove that the city had prior knowledge of the road damage and made no move to make repairs, the city cannot be held accountable.

While sinkholes may be a fairly atypical event on North Carolina roadways, the recent news does offer the perfect time to remind drivers how to avoid damage to their vehicles during the course of every day driving.

1. Remain Aware

Sinkholes literally appear out of nowhere. One moment you are driving along, the next, you are at a complete standstill. Stay aware of the road in front of you. This means that eating, applying makeup, texting, reading, and talking on the phone should always be avoided when driving. Consider the fact that, at 55 MPH, diverting your eyes from the road for even 5 seconds means that you covered the length of a football field blindly.

2. Do Not Tailgate

The general rule of thumb tells you that you should be able to see the rear tires touching the pavement when it comes to the car in front of you. This is equal to approximately one car-length of space between you and the leading car. If you cannot see the rear tires, you are driving too closely. Should the vehicle in front of you come to a sudden stop, you will not be able to avoid a collision.

3. Stay In Your Lane

It can be tempting to cut around cars that are stopped in front of you, especially if you are in a hurry, but common sense should tell you to stay in your lane. The people in front of you are not stopped for no reason. Chances are that leaving your lane will not get you where you are going any faster. Maintain your lane and your patience to avoid a collision.

If you have sustained vehicle damage due to a sinkhole, your first phone call should be to your insurance agent. He or she will be able to tell you if you are covered for the damage. Your second phone call should be to the city to find out if they were aware of the hole before you ran into it.

If you believe the city is at fault due to negligence, contact the experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger. We know what your rights are and we have the experience to fight the city for you. Call us immediately so that we can begin handling your case. Initial consultations are always free, and we are happy to tell you if you have a case before we proceed. Call now!

Posted In: Car Accidents, Personal Injury
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