The pothole epidemic this season in Michigan has been horrendous. I grew up in this state and I’ve experienced all types of winters, but I’ve never experienced a winter like this. The severe cold and huge snow falls have wreaked havoc on all of us. It has also wreaked havoc on the state’s roads and highways.
The size and volume of potholes that have formed this season already is unprecedented. It seems like every road is cut up with refrigerator sized potholes that are impossible to avoid. The result has been an incredible amount of car damage, including tire blowouts, axle damage and more serious things like car wrecks and truck accidents.
A question I have received repeatedly from clients recently is ‘who pays for the car damage caused by potholes?’ Well, unfortunately in most cases, your own car insurance company must pay for the vehicle damage. But this only occurs if you purchased collision coverage. If you do not have collision coverage, or similar coverage, you have no recourse by which to get the vehicle damage paid.
However, in certain situations, you can get the State to pay for some of your vehicle damage. The umbrella organization for Michigan personal injury lawyers, the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) — an organization in which I serve as an Executive Board member — has created a website called Fix Your Ride.
This neat website contains a form you can fill out and submit to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for damage to your vehicle from pothole damage. However, there are a few caveats.
First, the state will only pay up to $1,000 worth of vehicle damage.
Second, this claim is only for car damage that occurred on a state trunkline. A state trunkline is a road or highway that typically runs across more than county. The roads are given a numerical number and are preceded by the letter “M.” Think M1 for Woodward and M3 for Gratiot Avenue.
I encourage people who have sustained car damage due to a pothole on a Michigan trunkline to complete the form and submit it to the Michigan Department of Transportation. I also encourage people to report potholes they encounter to MDOT as well. The state needs to hear from motorists so the pothole problem can get fixed – and fixed fast so our roads are safer.
Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE or 1-800-533-3733 with any questions.