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Are You A Pothole Victim? There Might Be Help For You!

Big pothole on road after winter

Photo: Getty Images

The recent storms in Southern California have caused a mess pretty much everywhere. Depending on where you live your damage varies from minimal to catastrophic.

But the one place we can all say, 'yeah it's really bad' is our roadways. They're littered with potholes that are flattening tires across Southern California, and that damage can be costly. According to the Auto Club of Southern California, not only can a pothole flatten a tire, but it can impact your rims and the suspension of your vehicle....so the cost for a repair can be anywhere from $250 to $1,000 or more!

It's so bad in some areas, like the 71 freeway, that one day this week, more than 30 vehicles were disabled by potholes and sat alongside the freeway waiting for help. Just yesterday, the entire 71 freeway was shut down in both directions for pothole repair because there are SO many potholes that it's literally impossible to drive the road without hitting one! The 71 freeway will be closed at times this weekend for more repair. Get the details HERE.

Jeremy Taylor, of Ben's Asphalt in Santa Ana told ABC 7:

"You can't even comprehend how much damage is out there. You see it more and more every day. In the micro the rain doesn't allow us to work, but in the macro of everything it's going to create work for years to come."

And, he says, the quick repairs crews across SoCal are doing now are only a temporary solution.

"A long-term fix would be to actually fix the street the correct way, doing like a grind and overlay, removing and replacing the asphalt."

So, what if you're a pothole victim?

Well, there could be help out there for you, but it all depends on WHERE the damage happened.

Before anything else, you're going to want to take photos of the damage to your car and the pothole that caused it if possible. Then make sure to get estimates to fix it or a copy of the bill if you get it fixed fast.

Now, your car insurance may cover pothole damage BUT you if you have a deductible you'll have to pay that first and that might not make it worth filing the claim.

The next steps:

If the damage happened on a city street, you'd need to reach out to the city where the damage happened in to file a claim.

If the damage happens on a private road, you'll need to reach out to the owner of the road to file a claim.

If the damage happened on a freeway or state highway, Caltrans offers up to $10,000 to drivers if your vehicle has been damaged by potholes.

The Caltrans website includes instructions on how to file a claim for damage, but you need to note the county in which the damage occurred. Each county in California is covered by a specific Caltrans District Claims Office so make sure you know what district where the damage happened before filing your claim. CLICK HERE for the list of districts.


If your claim of damage is OVER $10,000 you have to submit it to the California Government Claims Program.

We're not sure how long it'll take to hear back about a claim, but given the amount of people affected by potholes, including several of our own employees, we figure it'll take awhile.

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