Potholes Are a Nuisance to More Than Just Drivers

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Col. Bryan J. Smith, PE, Construction Site Safety / Slip and Fall / OSHA Consultant ::::
Case Summary: While walking on the parking lot driveway on her way to her apartment, the plaintiff stepped into a pothole which caused her to trip and fall. Her fall resulted in multiple injuries. The plaintiff sued the property owner and the property manager.
Expert Analysis: A site survey was performed to document the site conditions at the location of the incident, which occurred on July 28, 2014. At the time (approximately 10:30 pm), the plaintiff was walking on the apartment complex’s parking lot driveway to her apartment. The plaintiff encountered unstable footing due to the presence of a pothole at a point where the available parking lot lighting no longer illuminated her pathway to the apartment. This damaged/deteriorated driveway was identified six months earlier by the property manager as needing repair/remediation. The damaged/deteriorated pavement presented a non-uniform walking surface which caused the plaintiff to fall and consequently sustain injuries.
A review was made of the borough’s ordinances; the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards, The International Property Maintenance Code, and ASTM 1637-13 Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces. It was found that the incident pothole violated all of the reviewed standards and ordinances, and therefore was a hazardous situation that was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s trip and fall incident. It was also found that the property owner and property manager had sufficient knowledge of the pothole and plenty of time to enact repairs prior to the incident.
Result: The plaintiff accepted a settlement offer.
Col. Bryan J. Smith, PE is a Construction Site Safety / Slip and Fall / OSHA Consultant with DJS Associates and can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

 

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