Potholes can cause serious damage to your car and the News4 I-Team has uncovered in some cases it's taking the state weeks to fix them.
News4 also found most of the time drivers are stuck paying it, even when it’s not their fault.
What do drivers have to do to get the state to pay damage done to your car after hitting a pothole?
“Potholes are everywhere,” said Victor Kinley.
Kinley paid around $1,300 for damages to his wife’s car after she hit three of them on her way to work.
When he filed a claim with the state, he was denied.
"It's been over a year now and we still haven't received anything,” said Kinley.
Kinley said they turned in everything the state asked them for, including pictures of the damage and receipts showing how much it was to get each tire fixed.
So why wasn't he reimbursed? The state said there was no evidence they had prior knowledge of that pothole.
“If the claimant can prove negligence on behalf of the state that is what we're looking for to process their claim,” said Shelli King with the Tennessee Department of Treasury.
How often does the state pay for damage caused by potholes?
The News4 I-Team found that out of more than 1,200 claims filed last year, only 12 of them were approved by the state. That's less than 1 percent.
“Do you understand why drivers are coming to us saying they feel they shouldn’t be stuck paying for this bill,” News4 I-Team Consumer Investigator Lindsay Bramson asked.
“I’m here to hold up what the law is and hold up the process Treasury does,” said King.
Mark Mattson is one of the lucky people. He was on his way to airport when he hit a large pothole on I-40 near downtown Nashville.
Damage to his car totaled more than $800 and the state paid for it.
“When I found out how much it was going to be I was very doubtful,” said Mattson.
According to his claim, the pothole Mattson hit was first reported to TDOT on Sept. 6. More than a week later it still wasn't fixed when Mattson drove over it.
“Is TDOT doing enough to fix the potholes as quickly as possible?” Bramson asked TDOT.
“Our maintenance personnel are certainly doing the best they can,” said TDOT spokesperson Kathryn Schulte. “We have a lot of lane miles we have to take care of.”
Remember those 12 claims the News4 I-Team mentioned that were approved by the state? In some cases, we found TDOT waited as long as three weeks to fix a pothole.
“I believe they're doing what they can do, but it's just not enough,” said Kinley. “Thirteen hundred dollars is a lot of money and it's very important we're compensated for something we didn't cause.”
If you're out driving and hit a pothole, call TDOT and report it immediately.
If TDOT doesn’t fix it right away and you or someone else hits it, you will get reimbursed by the state for any and all repairs.
To report potholes on state routes, call the TDOT Maintenance Office that corresponds to the county the pothole is in:
- Davidson and Williamson counties: 615-350-4400
- Macon, Trousdale, Smith, Sumner and Wilson counties: 615-451-5822
- Cheatham, Houston, Stewart, Montgomery and Robertson counties: 931-648-5570
- Dickson, Hickman, Humphreys and Maury counties: 931-296-9600
- Bedford, Moore, Lincoln, Marshall and Rutherford counties: 931-270-5030
- Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Perry and Wayne counties: 931-766-1414
You can also email email@example.com. Make sure to give the exact location of the pothole.
Potholes on local routes need to be reported to your local public works department.
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