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California May Reimburse Repairs for Pothole Damage

Much of Southern California was pummeled by historic rainfall earlier this week. Rain brings potholes.

Hitting a pothole can damage a tire, the wheel rim holding it, and even a vehicle’s suspension and alignment. A 2022 AAA study found that repairing pothole damage costs motorists an average of $406. The number is probably higher today as car repairs keep growing more expensive.

But, in some cases, California and its cities and counties may reimburse residents for the expense. The Los Angeles Times explains, “State law holds the government responsible for dangerous conditions on public property, but only if the government knew or should have known about them.”

Related – Flood-Damaged Cars: How To Spot And Avoid Them

That means damage caused by new potholes formed by this recent storm isn’t covered. But if the storm worsened one the state neglected to repair, residents might be able to get their repair reimbursed.

Attorney Allen Patatanyan, managing partner of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told the L.A. Times that residents might do this by demonstrating “that the government had been told about the pothole or had spotted it during an inspection.”

Claim Forms

You’ll also need to determine whether the city, county, or state maintains the road where the damage occurred. The L.A. Times provides links to claim forms for all three.

The L.A. Times reports that claims must be filed within six months. And we expect all three agencies to be deluged with claims, so don’t expect a quick answer.

Related — Car Suspension: 6 Signs Something is Off

How to Avoid Pothole Damage

Some collision insurance covers pothole damage, but whether to file a claim is a judgment call — a $406 repair doesn’t meet the deductible for many policies.

And, of course, the easiest way to prevent shelling out money for pothole repair is to avoid them. Slowing down, staying far enough behind the car in front of you to see road damage, and keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure can prevent damage from pothole impacts.

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