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Pothole Accidents in Austin: Legal Options for Property Damage and Personal Injury Claims

Unfortunately, for people who live in the city, potholes are a way of life. If you’ve come in contact with one or have tried to avoid one, you know how annoying and inconvenient potholes can be. It can be an even larger inconvenience for those who’ve sustained damage to their vehicles as a result of potholes.

Austin’s 8 Most Pothole Ridden Intersections

Luckily for Austin, the city is not one of the country’s top 20 cities with the worst roads (if you didn’t know, L.A. is number one). However, some of Austin’s intersections have been reported over a dozen times due to potholes:

  1. Southwest Pkwy. & West William Cannon Dr. | 25 potholes reported
  2. Near Wells Fargo | Mesa Dr. & Spicewood Springs Rd. | 16 potholes 
  3. Near The Villas on 26th Apartments (UT Austin) | W 26th St. & Salado St. | 14 
  4. Stratford Dr. & Redbud Trail | 12
  5. Residential | W 29th St. & Jefferson St. | 11
  6. Near Austin Books & Comics and Guzy Gallery | 5000 N Lamar | 11
  7. Near Austinville Plaza, 7-11 and Valero | S Lamar Blvd. & Barton Skwy. | 10
  8. Near P. Terry’s Burger Stand | 2501 Cedar Bend Dr | 10

Our data on the top most reported areas with potholes aren’t meant to steer you away from those roads and businesses, but to enlighten you on how much of an issue (and danger to your safety) potholes can be.

The Issue with Potholes

How do they even form?

Potholes are the result of traffic and water. Road surfaces are bound to crack under the stress of traffic and the heating and cooling of the surface throughout the seasons. When the road cracks, water is able to seep in below the surface and get trapped when the weather cools down and ice covers the roads.

Traffic also causes stress on the roads and can widen those cracks, which allows even more water to seep in and freeze overnight. As more cars drive over those cracks, the spot weakens, the roadway material breaks down and is then removed by the constant traffic. After that point, a pothole forms.

Can potholes cause damage to my car?

In one word: absolutely. Pothole damage can lead to several motor vehicles including, but not limited to:

  • Wheel rim damage
  • Engine damage
  • Tire puncture, wear, or damage
  • Steering system misalignment
  • Damaged exhaust system
  • Damaged or broken suspension components

Because of the serious damage potholes can cause, it’s absolutely necessary to check these four car parts after you’ve struck a deep pothole: tires and tire pressure, suspension (such as a loud vibration or steering pulling to one direction while driving), exhaust (such as loud sounds from the exhaust or a leaking exhaust smell in your car), and the body (if it’s low-hanging).

Austin’s Progress on Fixing Potholes

Austin’s potholes are no small problem. In fact, since 2014, over 9,800 potholes have been reported to the city’s Public Works Department. Here’s a quick break down:

  • 2014: 1,394
  • 2015: 3,658
  • 2016: 2,854
  • 2017: 1,807 (so far; the data is updated daily)

The city’s Public Work Department also provides an annual report of the projects, progress on those projects, and funding for the city. In the 2016 annual report, 2,868 potholes were repaired, 99% of those potholes were filled within 72 hours of reporting, and the state of the street condition was 78% satisfactory for drivers.

If you’d like to report a pothole or another street maintenance repair, call the Austin’s Public Works Department at 3-1-1 (or, if you’re outside Austin 512-974-2000). You can also visit their customer service page to make a request.

How can potholes cause car accidents?

This may comes as a shock, but yes, potholes can cause car accidents. Sometimes, the car accidents are serious and result in injuries to the victims. Not only do potholes pose a threat to your vehicle, but they can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle and result in a serious car accident.

Motorcycle drivers are at an even greater risk of fatal or serious injury. Because motorcycles only have two wheels and weigh less than a car, these vehicles are ill-equipped to handle potholes. Also, motorcycles have fewer safety features than cars, such as no seatbelt, nothing to shield the inside of the vehicle, and no airbags. Think of it this way: hitting a pothole can cause a similar impact as being involved in a collision at 35 mph.

As Austin car accident attorneys, we know that some accidents are just unavoidable. Even if you try and go around each and every pothole, some damages just happen. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to hitting a pothole, contact The Cagle Law Firm for a free consultation on your case.

Did we leave out any particularly bad roads or intersections? Leave a comment to let us know.

Resource: Austintexas.gov

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