I want my $700! #$%^^ pothole
January 26, 2014 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I hit a large, well camoflaged and unmarked "pothole" in a nearby town in MA. It was impossible to see. It ripped the oil pan out of my car and cost me $700 (towing, repair and rental car). I was not driving recklessly. Is it worth the trouble of getting in touch with the town and asking them to reimburse me?

The hole in question was more like a depression in the road. It does not appear to be new. It was about the diameter of an oil drum perpendicular to the road and approx 9" deep. Since it was the same material as the road, I never saw it.

I'm out quite a bit of money, but if there's no chance that I will be reimbursed it's not really worth my time. Is the town liable in any way?

This was in Sagamore near Scusset Beach if it matters.

posted by sully75 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's a blog post by a tire shop owner that addresses this question.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 9:14 AM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

It does not hurt to submit the claim. I did it in a large city I used to live in, and I got a check back almost immediately.

Find "public works" or "streets" on the city's web site. There may well be a specific address for "damage claims."
posted by yclipse at 9:46 AM on January 26, 2014

i'd give it a shot. every once in awhile, a government interaction goes well! i'd go in in person, with a copy of the file for the city manager/whoever, including the towing document showing the location of your pickup and a photo of the pothole to show them you're organized, serious and not just shaking them down.
posted by bruce at 9:48 AM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've worked in city government. You should definitely file a claim if you'd like compensation. I was surprised how often this is done.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:40 AM on January 26, 2014

Here are the Massachusetts state laws about potholes. Depends whether you were on a state road or local road but my read of both of those is that you may as well try. The page has links to sources that give advice on how exactly to do this.
posted by jessamyn at 11:39 AM on January 26, 2014

Try it -- but in contrast to humboldt32, my city has a policy of denying any and all claims, forcing people to appeal the denial (which I think goes to circuit court but I'm not sure).
posted by dhartung at 2:43 AM on January 27, 2014

You know, that might qualify as a one-car accident. You should consider filing an insurance claim as well, depending on your insurer and their stance about increasing premiums for people who claim...
posted by BigLankyBastard at 10:52 AM on January 27, 2014

Also, it looks like Sagamore is part of the Town of Bourne (Website here). Be sure to find out which governmental unit "owns" the stretch of road you had your incident on - There are city roads, county roads, and even state highways that are not clearly marked as such. In my city, many main thoroughfares (Such as Snelling Ave or University Ave) are technically state highways or County Roads despite looking just like busy city streets. File your claim with the right body for best results.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 10:59 AM on January 27, 2014

You should consider filing an insurance claim as well, depending on your insurer and their stance about increasing premiums for people who claim...

In other words, don't file an insurance claim.
posted by Dasein at 1:18 PM on January 28, 2014

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