Man who suffered severe injuries in e-scooter crash sues Detroit over pothole

Posted at 5:17 AM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 05:48:29-04

(WXYZ) — A California man is suing the City of Detroit for $10 million after he said he hit a pothole on an electric scooter in Midtown, causing some serious injuries.

The incident happened six months ago, but 34-year-old Justin Almeida is claiming he is unable to work, read, or even see clearly.

The man claims the pothole was about 6 1/2 inches deep and two feet wide near the area of Warren Ave. and Second Ave. He said he fractured his skull and broke several bones in his face.

Almeida said he was riding a Bird scooter before slamming into the street at Warren and Second.

"It's tragic when you see what could have been prevented," Gerald Posner, Almeida's attorney, said.

He was taken to the hospital, and his wife in California got the call about what happened.

"He doesn't remember talking to me," Tori Porell, his wife, said.

His wife and his attorney said the injuries were also causing damage to his brain.

Six months later, Almeida, who is a software engineer, can only read at a fourth-grade level and has double vision almost all of the time, which prevents him from driving, reading, watching TV or even using a computer. He is reportedly in therapy three days per week, five hours a day.

"His work as a software engineer involves looking at lots of little lines of code and, like, moving around puzzles and software architecture and we don't know if that's work he will ever be able to do again," Porell said.

Posner said the City of Detroit didn't follow Michigan law.

"All the city had to do was to fulfill its statutory obligation to keep the street reasonably safe and fit for travel, and it didn't," he said.

The MCL states that in Michigan, a governmental agency – in this case, the City of Detroit – has 30 days to patch a pothole when the problem is reported. But Posner doesn't know if the city even knew about the pothole.

His argument is people who live in the area claim the pothole had been around for at least six months before the crash, and at least three months after the crash before it was patched.

7 Action News reached out to the city, but a spokesperson said they can not comment on pending litigation.

The big message from this crash: Wear a helmet.

"It might not look cool to be wearing a helmet, but its way less cool to have someone teaching you how to read again," Porell said.

The city has yet to be officially served, but has acknowledged the lawsuit. Again, if you are riding an e-scooter, wear a helmet.