If you hit a pothole and incur damage to your vehicle, you have a legal right to submit a damage claim to the government agency responsible for fixing potholes.
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9)-- 'Tis the season for potholes in the District, Maryland and Virginia.
Joan Morris with the Virginia Department of Transportation tells WUSA9 calls from drivers reporting those road craters have tripled in Northern Virginia alone.
The problem is probably going to grow as we continue to have fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions. Potholes form when moisture gets into the pavement, freezes, expands and then thaws. All of this weakens pavement. Add a couple thousand vehicles a day, and things fall apart. Asphalt, and unfortunately, maybe your car too.
WUSA9 has received numerous reports of people hitting potholes in our area. The end result for some has been a blown tire, a lost hubcap, even front end alignment issues.
But did you know if your car suffers damage after hitting a pothole, you have the right to submit a damage claim to the transportation agency responsible for fixing potholes? You are not guaranteed reimbursement; however, you can, and should try.
It should be noted, that one of the prerequisites for an agency to be responsible for damage is proof it was aware of the issue, but did nothing about it. According to Eduard Bartholme, with the WUSA9 Call for Action team, "In most jurisdictions the first person to report the issue is not entitled to any compensation only subsequent claims from others are considered for compensation....Once they are aware and leave it unresolved they are liable."
Here is a list of local transportation offices and how to submit a claim:
District of Columbia
To file a claim you must contact the DC Office of Risk Management
You can also call (202) 727-8600
State of Maryland
File a written claim by going to: Maryland Treasury Department
You can also call (410) 260-7684 or 1-800-942-0162
A spokesperson at the Maryland Department of Transportation tells WUSA9 part of the claims process is for the driver to prove MDOT knew about the pothole.
Please note the State of Maryland is responsible for repairing potholes on state maintained roads. These include, but are not limited to, such routes as Rt. 355, 117 etc. or Connecticut Avenue, East-West Highway.
File a written claim by going to: Montgomery County Department of Transportation
The following information is requested: name; was anyone injured in the incident?; street and email addresses; daytime telephone number; when did the incident occur?; where did the incident occur?; description of what occurred.
A representative from Risk Management will call back to gather more information and answer additional questions.
Prince George's County
According to the Prince George's County Department of Transportation you can call the CountyClick number, which is 311 to report damage to your vehicle from potholes. Please note, you must call 311 from a number within the county. If calling from outside the county dial (301) 324-2710. There is no online form.
Commonwealth of Virginia
Contact VDOT's Customer Service Center at 1-800-367-7623
According to VDOT's website, "Claims are investigated on a case-by-case basis. Investigators review the circumstances, the type and location of the pothole, if VDOT had been previously notified of the issue, and if crews had been given a reasonable amount of time to repair the pothole."
Please note the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for patching potholes on the 58,000 miles of state-maintained roads in the commonwealth.
If the pothole is in a city, town, Arlington County or Henrico County, call the public works department in that location.
Contact Arlington County's Risk Management Office at (703) 228-4444.