How to file a claim with the state if your car is damaged by a pothole

Published: Feb. 21, 2018 at 11:55 AM EST
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It's pothole season in Michigan, and News 10 has received multiple reports of car damage caused by craters in the road.

You can file a claim with the state or city where it happened. But there is no guarantee drivers will get reimbursed for the repair bills.

If your vehicle suffers less than $1,000 damage from a pothole on a state trunkline (like I-94 or I-96), go to MDOT's website and fill out a claims form. You must attach documentation to support the claim, such as copies of car repair estimates, or copies of actual bills paid for by out-of-pocket repairs. Turn in the completed paperwork to the MDOT office in the county where the damage occurred.

The state will consider an award, only for the damages beyond what has been paid by your insurance company. However, the state says a majority of claims are denied under governmental immunity laws.

Those laws state drivers must show that MDOT failed to maintain the road in 'reasonable repair' to prove a claim. In addition, drivers must also show that MDOT knew of the condition and had the opportunity to repair it, or that the condition existed for more than 30 days.

Claims of $1,000 or more can only be recovered by filing a lawsuit against MDOT.

The claims process for pothole damage on non-trunkline roads varies based on the city or municipality. In Lansing and East Lansing, the city has 30 days after they claim is made to fix the pothole. If it's not fixed within that time period, the claim will be valid.