What can we do if my son was driving his car and there was a manhole that was uncovered and his car suffered $1800 in damages?

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What can we do if my son was driving his car and there was a manhole that was uncovered and his car suffered $1800 in damages?

There was the same exact incident with another vehicle 4 hours prior to his. When he called 911 and said his location, the operator asked if he hit the open manhole. I’ve been dealing with several department in the state/town, only to be passed on to someone else. Claims were filed with athe pnone company (I was told the manhole belonged to them) but the claim was denied. I spoke with the township but they said it is the state’s department of transportation that is respnsible. I filed claim with it but the calim was denied and denied again on appeal. No one is taking responsibility. It is a sewer drain manhole with no name on. I’ve contacted the local new station but still no response.

Asked on September 26, 2014 under Accident Law, Connecticut

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since the claims you filed were denied, you should file a lawsuit for negligence naming the following as defendants: company that left the manhole uncovered, city or town where the manhole is located, and the state where the accident occurred.

If your son is eighteen, he can file the lawsuit himself.  If he is a minor (under eighteen), you can file the lawsuit on his behalf.  In order to file the lawsuit on his behalf, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem because a minor cannot file a lawsuit.

Your damages (the amount of monetary compensation you are seeking to recover in the lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to the car.  If your son needs a rental car while his car is being repaired, additional damages can be recovered for the cost of the rental car; however, your son must mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If he selected the most expensive rental car he could find, he has failed to mitigate damages and his damages would be reduced accordingly.

Claims against the city and state that are denied have deadlines for filing a lawsuit.  If you miss the filing deadline, you may be barred from filing the lawsuit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

When you don't know who the responsible party is and no one is stepping forward to take responsibility, the usual recourse is to sue *everyone* who might be responsible (name them all as defendants)--e.g. the phone company, the sewar authority, etc. You try to get them all in court and let  them then try to prove they are not responsible and/or fight it out about who is responsible.


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