SPOKANE, Wash --- A Spokane man won a lawsuit against the city after a pothole damaged his car.
Officials from the City of Spokane usually deny pothole damage claims, because they claim they either did not know about the pothole or they already fixed it. Therefore they cannot be held responsible for any damage to the car.
Ike Bailey was one of hundreds of people who filed a claim for damages with the City of Spokane because of potholes.
Bailey hit a pothole on Sunset Highway that caused the damage to his car.
“It was a large bang, it sounded like a shotgun going off in your car,” Bailey said.
Like the majority of people that file claims, his was denied.
He received a denial letter from the company hired to evaluate the claims, but he did not accept their reason for denying his claim. He put in a records request to obtain the street maintenance record.
“Their denial was based on that nobody else had reported potholes in that area, but if you look at the maintenance record that’s a false statement,” Bailey said.
Bailey has phone records to prove he called city officials the morning after hitting the pothole, but said his call was not recorded in the city’s records. Now, he questions the entire process for approving a claim for damages.
Bailey decided to take his case against the city to small claims court, and he won.
“It’s not about being right, it’s about doing what’s right, but if you don’t do what’s right, I’m going to do the homework to show that you owe me for what you failed to do,” Bailey explained.
A judge awarded him $1,364 for the damage caused by the pothole. He did not get the full amount he asked for because the judge decided he could’ve purchased a cheaper rim for his car.
Bailey hopes his win against the city will encourage others to take their denied pothole claims to court. He also said he would be happy to help others file claims.
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