Mark Prince Speaks About Uncovered Meter Holes and Legal Options for Suing

Published on May 14, 2024 at 6:24 pm in Premises Liability.

Mark Prince speaks about uncovered meter holes and legal options for suing

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) is slated to hold its inaugural Premises Liability Seminar in Miami, FL, from May 23 to 2024. One of the speakers who will deliver a presentation entitled “Uncovered Meter Hole – how to prove notice of dangerous conditions” is our Prince Law Firm founder, Mark Prince.

Concerns surrounding the steel plates that are generally placed atop these “manholes,” as they’re sometimes called, might have never crossed your mind until you read where Mark Prince speaks about uncovered meter holes and legal options for suing. However, this type of negligence leads to countless preventable injuries here in Marion, IL and elsewhere in our state and country every year.

Dangers Broken and Uncovered Water Meter Covers Pose

If you perform an online search for injuries associated attributable to issues with water meters, you’ll quickly find that one of the biggest dangers they pose to individuals is the risk of slips and falls. Unsecured water meter covers can:

  • Cause a pedestrian to stumble and fall if the edge of the cover is left level with the ground’s surface
  • Lead to one of these covers teetering as someone steps atop one of these, leading to them falling inside the manhole
  • Cause a bike rider to get their wheel stuck within the circular space where the meter is, causing them to flip over the front handlebars and land in the street
  • Lead to a motorist’s tires becoming stuck or punctured, causing their vehicle to get stuck in one place or resulting in a loss of control, either of which could cause a car crash with serious injuries

The above listing of potentially dangerous incidents that can stem from covers not being repositioned on water meter holes is brief. However, there are countless other ways pedestrians, bike riders, drivers, and others can be hurt by these. This will be part of the focus of the presentation attorney Mark Prince will make at the AAJ Premises Liability Seminar later this month.

Injuries That Broken or Improperly Installed Manhole Covers Can Cause

When incidents like the ones described above happen, they can cause a whole host of injuries, depending on the severity of the incident. As a lawyer who regularly handles cases like these, attorney Mike Prince has seen anything from minor, temporary to permanent, life-altering impairments, such as the following, stemming from these injury events:

  • Contusions (bruising) and Lacerations (cuts)
  • Blunt force trauma that caused internal organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Head trauma resulting in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis

It’s not unheard of for individuals who encounter uncovered or improperly covered water meter holes to, unfortunately, lose their lives when doing so. This is especially the case if they fall in the roadway and a vehicle operator is fast approaching. A driver may also be unable to take evasive action or stop in time to avoid a pedestrian or bicyclist who fell over in the road or to avoid colliding with a vehicle disabled by the manhole. Catastrophic crashes can occur in these instances.

Understanding Liability for Injuries Caused by Uncovered Water Meter Holes

Most manhole covers are made of cast iron largely because it’s heavy, making them not only challenging for just anyone to easily move, but also able to withstand the constant weight of vehicles that constantly drive over them without becoming dislodged. However, if they’re not properly installed or replaced once removed or not quickly addressed if they do break, they may not be as effective in protecting others from harm as they should be.

If you’ve been hurt because of poor installation, replacement, or maintenance of a water meter cover and are curious who you can hold liable for that, you have a few options, including:

  • A government agency: This will generally include a municipality (like the City of Marion, IL) but could perhaps include Williamson County, a village, a township, and even the state government (such as the Illinois Department of Transportation)
  • A wastewater company: Whether you have city-provided water or Illinois American Water, the Lake Egypt Water District, or some other provider services your area
  • A homeowner or property owner: According to Marion, IL Code 9-2-5: Service Regulations, the responsibility to not only initially supply but also replace a water meter cover if it becomes damaged may belong to a property owner

This list above isn’t necessarily exhaustive. There are all different types of scenarios whereby one of the entities above or a different one may remove a meter lid and not properly replace it or cause it to become dislodged, leading to someone ultimately getting hurt. In these instances, their actions could lead to them potentially being held liable for any resulting harm.

Most individuals hurt in uncovered water meter incidents end up having to receive significant medical care if they’re lucky enough to survive it. The complication associated with this is that government agencies, if potentially responsible for what happened, have special noticing requirements and sometimes limited filing timelines that apply in cases like these. That’s why it’s critically important to work with an attorney as knowledgeable as Mark Prince when you’ve had such an accident. You can continue to focus on your recovery while he handles the legal aspects of your case.



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