Open manhole leads to 2018 being totaled

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Open manhole leads to 2018 being totaled

My daughter was driving her new Jeep Compass last night in the snow when her rt. rear tire fell into an open manhole cover in the City of Hamtramck. There was plenty of snow, so it was difficult to see the obstruction in the road. The impact broke her axle and sent the car into a spin which eventually led the vehicle to smash into another car.All air bags went off and the front of the car is history. I believe it’s totaled. Do I have any recourse against the city. This is a lease car and I have a 1000.00 Deductible. OUCH Please advise.Thank you in advance.

Asked on February 11, 2018 under Accident Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may have recourse IF you can show that the city was at fault. They would be at fault if 1) their employees (e.g. road maintenance) left the manhole open; or 2) someone else had removed the cover, the fact the cover was missing had been called into the city, and despite having notice of the missing cover and enough time to get there and replace it (or at least put cones around to warn people), they failed to act.
On the other hand, if some other person (e.g. a scrap metal scavenger, or a teen doing a very stupid and dangerous prank) removed the cover and the city had no warning that it was missing, the city was not at fault. Not being at fault, they would not be liable and you would have no recourse against them.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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