Ask any driver in Colorado what frustrates them the most about our roads and the answer will most likely be the same—the never-ending barrage of road work plaguing our towns and highways. Yet, even with this constant road work happening, potholes are consistently neglected by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). At Curtis | Walton Law, our office has seen an uptick over the past couple years in potholes causing motorcycle crashes.
For example, last year, on a rural county road outside of La Veta, our client crashed while riding his motorcycle after his front wheel encountered a deep pothole in the road. Our crash investigation revealed that there was a 20-foot stretch of potholes on that road.
In another one of our Littleton law firm’s motorcycle accident cases, our client hit an enormous pothole spanning across several lanes of traffic while driving his motorcycle on I-25 southbound. The pothole was unavoidable, and he crashed near the 8th Avenue exit.
The injuries sustained in both cases have been life-altering.
What Causes Potholes
Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of water under the pavement. When the water freezes, it fills more space under the pavement, which then expands, bends, and cracks, weakening the road surface. This continuous “freeze/thaw” cycle, combined with the weight of vehicles passing over weakened pavement, creates a pothole.
CDOT’s Cost of Repair Is Minor Compared to the Emotional & Financial Costs Caused by Non-Repair
According to a CDOT news article from April 2, 2019, titled, “Crews Spring into Action Patching Potholes,” the average cost to repair a pothole is $60 per square yard, depending on hole depth and width with repair times varying between 10 and 30 minutes. With such a relatively low cost and repair times, why is CDOT continuing to neglect potholes throughout Colorado?
One of our clients suffered a serious traumatic brain injury from hitting a pothole. His medical costs incurred a total of over $150,000 and he has a life-changing traumatic brain injury. Curtis | Walton Law investigated CDOT’s maintenance records. Our skilled attorneys uncovered evidence proving CDOT’s road maintenance employees passed by these dangerous potholes at least 50 times during the year preceding our client’s injuries. All 50 times they did nothing to repair the potholes. Only after our client was seriously injured, his body in a coma for three weeks, was the pothole repaired.
What to Do If You See a Pothole
If you are driving and notice a pothole in the road you should immediately report it to CDOT. The public can call CDOT’s hotline number to report a pothole to a customer service representative for each area of the state:
- Metropolitan Denver—Region 1: (303) 759-2368
- Southeastern Colorado—Region 2: (719) 562-5568
- Northwestern Colorado—Region 3: (970) 243-2368
- Northeastern Colorado—Region 4: (970) 350-2368
- Southwestern Colorado—Region 5: (970) 385-1423
What to Do If You Were Injured by a Pothole
If you have been a victim of a motorcycle accident due to potholes it is important that you retain counsel immediately. You will forever lose your ability to be compensated for any pain and suffering from the accident if you do not put various government agencies on notice within 180 days from the date of the crash. This is known as the “notice requirement” per the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.
If you need legal counsel now, Curtis | Walton Law is here for you. Contact our Littleton motorcycle accident lawyers at (720) 815-4402 or online to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.