Pursuing Justice: Suing New York City for a Pothole Injury

Gene Warhurst

October 21, 2023

Navigating the bustling streets of New York City can be an exhilarating experience, but it also comes with its share of challenges. Among them, the ubiquitous potholes that dot the city’s roads can be a problematic hazard. If you’ve suffered an injury due to a pothole in the Big Apple, you may wonder if you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. In this article, we will explore the process of suing New York City for a pothole injury, shedding light on the steps involved and the legal considerations at play.

Assessing the Injury

The first step in pursuing legal action against New York City for a pothole injury is to assess the extent of your damage. Seek immediate medical attention and document your injuries, treatments, and medical bills. Establishing a clear link between the pothole incident and your injuries is essential.

Identifying the Responsible Party

Determining who is responsible for maintaining the road where the pothole is located is critical. The Department of Transportation (DOT) maintains most roads and streets in New York City. However, certain roadways like highways and parkways may fall under state jurisdiction. Identifying the responsible entity is essential for filing a claim.

Filing a Notice of Claim

New York City has specific rules and timelines for filing a notice of claim when seeking compensation for injuries resulting from city negligence. You typically have 90 days from the incident date to file a notice of claim with the appropriate city agency, such as the New York City Comptroller’s Office. This notice should detail the incident, your injuries, and the damages you seek.

Investigation by the City

Upon receiving your notice of claim, the city will initiate an investigation into your pothole injury case. This investigation may include reviewing accident reports, gathering evidence, and assessing the condition of the road where the pothole is located.

Preparing Your Case

While the city investigates, you and your attorney should diligently prepare your case. This involves collecting evidence, including photographs of the pothole, witness statements, medical records, and any relevant maintenance records from the city.

Evaluating the Offer

After the city’s investigation, they may offer to settle your claim. This offer can vary widely depending on the specifics of your case. It’s essential to consult with your attorney to evaluate whether the offer adequately compensates you for your injuries and damages.

Filing a Lawsuit

If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your next step is to file a lawsuit against New York City. This lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate court, and the legal process will commence.

Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, both parties will exchange information and evidence related to the case. This may involve depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories.


The case will proceed to trial if a settlement cannot be reached during the pre-trial phase. Here, both parties will present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses to a judge and possibly a jury.

Verdict and Compensation

Following the trial, the judge or jury will render a verdict. If you win your case, the court will determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to, which may include damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

Suing New York City for a pothole injury is a complex and challenging process that requires careful navigation of legal procedures and deadlines. If you’ve suffered an injury due to a pothole, it’s essential to act promptly, seek medical attention, and consult an experienced attorney specializing in personal injury cases.

While pursuing a claim against a municipal entity like New York City can be daunting, it’s important to remember that you have the right to seek compensation for injuries caused by negligence. By following the steps outlined above and enlisting the help of a skilled attorney, you can increase your chances of receiving the justice and compensation you deserve for your pothole injury.