Avoiding potholes is not always possible, and when you do hit one, you could suffer significant damage to your vehicle. Filing a claim with your insurance company or with the city is not always an option. Typically, the damage from these claims is minor, leaving you with little ability to receive compensation. However, hitting a pothole can cause more serious damage, including damage to the underside of the car, tires, rims, and much more. In these cases, you may want to take action.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Agency
In some situations, your insurance policy is the go-to solution for receiving compensation after experiencing significant damage to your car. First, consider whether or not you have coverage that is applicable. For example, hitting a pothole is a type of collision accident. That means you must carry collision insurance to file a claim. Those with other types of coverage, such as comprehensive insurance or liability insurance, have no recourse to filing a claim for pothole damage to their car.
If you do have collision coverage, what are your options? Your auto insurance policy probably includes a deductible. This is the amount you must pay before the insurance policy kicks in to pay for the remaining damages. For example, if the damage to your tire requires you to pay $300 for a new tire, but your deductible is $500, you will receive no compensation. However, if the damage is to the body of the car, resulting in $1,500 worth of damage, the auto insurance will cover $1,000.
You can submit a claim like this to your auto insurance company directly. In most cases, pothole compensation like this is a straightforward claim. You will receive compensation to make repairs. Car insurance claims like this typically work best for larger claims. However, for those without coverage, what are your options?
Isn’t the City Responsible?
One key fact many people do not know is that the city, county or other jurisdiction that maintains the roads could be responsible for the damage. City laws differ on this. However, you may find there are policies in place to help cover damage to your cars if the city is responsible. To determine this, find out what type of road you are on. Is it a city-maintained road? Others may be a county or a state-maintained road. Once you gather this information, you can determine if there are more options to help you receive compensation.
In some cases, the state or city has limits on when it can pay for pothole claims. For example, someone may have to report the pothole to the city as the first step. Then, the city has a certain amount of time to respond to your claim, such as 24 to 48 hours. If someone else experiences damage, the city may be held liable. The key here is that the city must have known about the pothole, been given enough time to take appropriate action, and then failed to do so. If these things occur, you may have a claim for compensation.
What If You Can’t Get Coverage?
There are some situations where the damage is significant and you do not receive help from your auto insurance or from filing a claim. What should you do at this point? Follow these steps.
- Take a photo of the pothole. It is always important to have evidence of what happened to back up your claims.
- File a claim with your car insurance. If denied, file a claim with the city for the damages.
- Get a quote for the amount of damage done to the car from a licensed mechanic.
Then, contact our office. We can work with you to determine if you have the legal right to seek out compensation from the city, county, or state, or another party depending on the situation. Even if you just need help filing a car accident insurance claim, our office can do this with you as well. You may find the insurer denies your claim even if you have coverage. This is also something we can help you with.
At Petersen Johnson, our team is here to help you determine how to receive the pothole compensation owed to you. Contact our office to learn more about what legal steps you can take to recover the damages you have incurred through no fault of your own.