It’s “Pothole Season” in Washington. Do You Know How to File a Claim?

By Peter DePaolis

It’s that time of year again. The recent rain and snow leaks into the underlying soil beneath the asphalt. The soil weakens and, next thing you know, there are miniature craters on the streets that are just waiting to damage your tires, rims, suspension, alignment or cause an accident. This is what residents are calling “pothole season.”

In particular, the number of D.C. drivers who have reported potholes has tripled in the last year. In Fairfax County, the Department of Transportation reports that roughly 80 percent of streets are considered to be in poor condition. According to WSA9 news, residents are reporting blown tires, missing hubcaps and recent issues with alignment.

What Can I Do When I Hit a Pothole?

Considering these dangerous road craters seem inescapable at times, counties have come together to find a solution. The damage caused from potholes can be pricey, but residents have the right to submit a damage claim to the proper transportation agency.

There are different transportation agencies for each county. However, they are all charged with fixing potholes in their designated areas. Although you file a claim for damages, there is no guarantee you will receive reimbursement, but drivers are encouraged to file anyway.

There is, of course, a stipulation. In order for a transportation agency to hold itself responsible for any damages to your car, there must be proof the agency was aware of the problem and did nothing to fix it. According to a reporter with WSA9, the first resident to report the problematic pothole usually does not receive compensation for any damages to their vehicle. Rather, all residents who file claims after the initial claim are considered for compensation.

Driver Who Hit Potholes May Not Receive Compensation for Damages

Even if you are not the first person to report the pothole to your local transportation department, you will still be required to provide ample evidence that the damage caused to your car specifically came from the pothole you are filing a claim for. The transportation departments may make you jump through a few hoops and may also reject your claim. If you have any questions about the claims process for damages caused by potholes, contact your attorney to assess what your rights are within your county.

Contact a D.C. Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis LLP assist victims of personal injury in D.C. Contact us for a free consultation about your car accident claim!


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.