Of course there are a few restrictions but this is the first I'm hearing of such a thing and I figure I can't be the only one that was unaware of this useful piece of information.

You know, I have always wondered why when we pay so much in taxes that we are solely  responsible for the repair costs to our cars when/if we happen to hit one of the many large potholes you come across on almost every roadway in the Capital Region.

Well, as it turns out you actually don't have to take on the burden of those costs! In fact if the road is owned by a local municipality, the county or the state you could get reimbursed for those repair costs!

That is as long as it is not "pothole season" in New York. According to News10 "pothole season" runs from November 15th to May 1st. Presumably because that's when the snow starts falling and the plows start running thus creating more potholes with in adverse weather to fix them in.

However, the point here is that if they don't fix those potholes you may not have to pay for the damage they have done to your car! Apparently you can call the state and ask for reimbursement. Of course the state is trying to avoid such costs and try to skeet around shelling out the cash by using the "actual notice" or "constructive notice" rule of thumb. To put it simply it has to be documented that they knew there was a pothole there and didn't fix it.

Now that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't reimburse you but that they can challenge it. So two things 1.) it doesn't hurt to ask 2.) report any problem potholes you come across during your commute.

lohud.com has put together some helpful tips on what to do if you do some major damage to you car in NY if you hit a pothole starting with figuring out who is responsible:

Who's responsible?

  • Identify whether the road is owned by a local municipality, the county or state. Contact a local official for help.
  • Call that government's clerk or highway department to find out how to submit a claim. Ask whether a written complaint of a pothole at that location was filed and when.
  • If you can safely do so, take photos and record details of the pothole's location.
  • File a police report to document the incident.
  • Get at least two repair estimates from qualified mechanics.

Was the pothole on a state road?

State DOT

Form: dot.ny.gov/divisions/legal-services-division/smallclaims

Questions: 845-431-5921.


Form: on.ny.gov/1wm5uTH

Thruway form can be emailed to claimsunit@thruway.ny.gov or faxed to 518-471-4340.

Questions: 518-436-2981

It should also be said that you should do your part to help prevent the damage to your car and report the potholes you see instead of driving over them repeatedly until you do damage. You can report persistent potholes on state roads to 1-800-Pothole so it can be repaired before the damage gets worse or you can report potholes on this website as well.

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