SPOKANE, Wash. – The City fills thousands of potholes each year but only a fraction also come with claims from drivers trying to collect damages for their cars. The number that actually get paid is even smaller.
“I think I got a flat tire but it’s just horrible,” said Spokane driver Jasmin Martinez. “I don’t want to have to think about it.”
Claims can be turned into the City but proof of responsibility is needed to collect any money. Drivers must show the City was aware of the pothole that caused any damage and had the chance to fill it. There were 50 to 75 claims in 2012 but only one was paid. In 2011, none of the 80 to 100 claims were paid.
“It’s an independent agency who process the claims and looks at the liability,” said Ann Deasy with the City of Spokane. “So it’s not a city employee.”
The numbers may appear discouraging but city staff say they use a third party to determine if a claim is valid. It helps to keep both sides separate from the process.
“It’s important to have a neutral party going through that,” said Deasy.
Street crews try to fill potholes as soon as one is reported and try to hit problem spots within 24 hours but residents say too often the process is not fast enough in their eyes.
“They’re doing it too slow, they need to pick it up,” said Martinez. “No one wants to have to get their car fixed if they don’t have to.”
The information to file a claim can be found online.