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Local officials warn that potholes could cause accidents

Many Tennessee residents are ready for spring and summer to return. The extreme weather from this winter has thrown many local residents for a loop, and it has left many roads in tatters.

Knoxville officials have indicated that several local roads are full of potholes due to the winter weather. The potholes form when water seeps in the cracks in the road, and then freezes and thaws. Road crews are now out attempting to temporarily fix the potholes, with long term repairs coming in the spring as the weather continues to warm.

Local officials have warned that the potholes could present a danger to area drivers. Larger potholes, which can run 3 to 4 feet in diameter, could cause a car accident if they are not repaired.

When accidents occur on local roads containing potholes or other conditions, questions may arise with respect to liability. Namely, an injured person may wonder whether he or she can still hold the other driver accountable for negligence, or whether the other person is not considered negligent if the pothole caused the accident.

Each case is different, in terms of the circumstances that led to the crash. However, as a general matter, in order to succeed in a case against a negligent driver, and demonstrate the person was actually negligent, the injured person must show the other driver's conduct caused the crash.

There are different aspects to this showing. First, the plaintiff has to show the other driver's conduct actually caused the crash. Second, the plaintiff must show the harm was foreseeable by the defendant. Accordingly, if these aspects of causation can be shown, the other driver can be held liable for his or her negligence, even if other aspects were present at the time of the crash like potholes.

Source: WATE, "Knoxville crews working to fix potholes formed by winter weather," Stephanie Beecken, Feb. 27, 2015

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