Reimbursement for pothole damage is possible, not likely

Damage from hitting a pothole can range from a flat tire to serious suspension damage.
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David MacAnally/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - With the latest snow storm on the way to Indiana, street crews must shift from pothole patching to salting and scraping. But the pothole problem will return when the snow leaves.

Earlier this week we told you about the problems drivers were having with the new crop of potholes dotting streets and highways. While the city Department of Public Works usually concerns itself with removing snow this time of year, they have been filling potholes when they can.

It's an uphill battle. So far this month there have been 716 complaints of potholes.

For February, 2900 were reported.

At Matt's alignment shop the mechanics work on "some bent front end parts, control arms." All the damage is symptomatic of a run-in with a pothole. They estimate the average repairs run about $300 a car.

On Wednesday, Eyewitness News stopped at 64th and Meridian where a car-killer pothole was blowing tires and bending front ends. Some of folks we met there may end up with costly front end work. One motorist said "The city should reimburse all four of us as well."

"There is a statute of limitations," explained Steve Hardiman with DPW. Motorists have 180 days after hitting a pot hole to file a damage claim with the city for possible reimbursement. Write a letter, lay out the facts, date, time, place a copy of your repair bill or estimate. And send that to the:

City of Indianapolis Corporation Counsel's Office
1601 City County Building
Indianapolis, IN 46204.

That's not all. DPW records must show someone officially complained about the pot hole you hit, before you hit it. And the city may look to see if it actually had enough time to repair it after it was reported.

Last year motorists filed 516 claims for pothole damage, but the city only paid out $8,200. Using Matt's Allignment's $300 average repair cost, that means only a few dozen got a pay out.

INDOT also accepts damage claims. You'll find the forms and instructions on the INDOT website. Last year INDOT took 245 claims and paid on 10 percent of them for a total of about $5,000. You have 279 days to file a claim with the Indiana Attorney General.

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