Proposed Pothole Liability Law Legislation

2011 Senate Bill 125 would bring municipalities and counties some additional protections from liability for highway defects such as potholes. Under current law, local governments have a greater liability than the State for discretionary decisions about highway maintenance and repair – the reality of that is that if you are injured by a pothole on a state highway you have a lessened ability to recover (from the state) than if you are injured on, for example, a county highway (where you could sue the county). The Supreme Court has called for legislation to remedy this inconsistency and SB 125 does just that by ensuring the burden faced by local governments is no greater than that faced by the State.

Municipalities are still responsible for highway repairs, and this bill would not relieve them of ministerial duties or duties to address known and immediate dangers, and they may still be sued in certain negligence actions. This bill holds municipal highways to the same standard as state highways.