Catherine Hiles
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How to File a Claim for Pothole Damage

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Pothole in road with water puddle
Photo: 四代目火影 via CC

Hitting potholes while driving is like being poked over and over again by a small child — a pesky nuisance that just won’t go away. While minor potholes might not affect you in your day-to-day life (besides just being plain annoying), larger potholes can certainly cause a lot of damage to your car, especially when you’re driving at a high speed. If you find yourself with a damaged car due to a large pothole, it’s possible to get reimbursed for your repair costs. Just follow these four easy steps.

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1. Contact your state’s Department of Transportation

Before you actually begin to file your damage claim, make sure you understand the procedure you must follow. Depending on your state, this procedure might differ. It is also a good idea to contact your city if the damage occurred within its limits to determine whether or not you need to submit the claim at the city level.

To find out the process, go to your state’s DoT website, or simply google “pothole claim + state name” to find resources to point you in the right direction.

2. Fill out all the forms

When you submit a pothole damage claim, there are a lot of forms you have to fill out. Most of these forms can be downloaded from your state or local government’s website. These forms typically request information like your full name, contact information, and details about the damage. It’s likely you will also be asked to provide names of witnesses if these are available, and an estimate on how much the damage will cost to repair. Make sure you keep track of all the information needed while getting your car repaired.

3. Provide all required documentation

Photographs, detailed descriptions of the damage, estimates from the mechanic, and other pieces of documentation will be needed when you file your claim. You might also need notarized witness statements and photographs of the pothole that caused the damage depending on the city and state in which you are filing your claim.

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4. Send it all in

Your forms will tell you exactly where you need to send your information. Each state and city has a different time limit for you to make your claim. These time limits can vary from seven days to an entire month, so make sure you get your claim in before your time limit is up.

Have you ever put in a claim with your local municipality for pothole damage? Share your experience with us in the comments!