Pothole season in Chicago: How to file a claim for vehicle damages

Pothole season in Chicago: How to file a claim for vehicle damages

Residents can recoup some costs after hitting one of the Windy City’s infamous potholes.

Spring usually means flowers and warmer weather, but in Chicago it also means potholes. The city announced in March that it will resurface 135 miles of roadway this year, but that might not be enough to put a dent in the pothole problem. In fact, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of city data shows 11,706 pothole complaints over the first two months of 2018, up 14 percent from last year.

It may not be common knowledge, but drivers can file a claim to recoup some of the costs that come from damaging one’s vehicle due to a pothole.

How to file a claim

To begin the process, go to the city clerk’s website to download the form. In typical Chicago fashion one must print out the form and mail it in – no online filing allowed.

When compiling a claim packet, make sure to include the completed and signed claim form, a copy of the paid receipt for the repairs, and a copy of a police report for the incident.

Many motorists don’t take the time to obtain a police report and this can keep them out of the system. If drivers want to file a successful claim, filing a police report upon the damage to one’s vehicle is highly recommended. At a minimum, it behooves drivers to call 311 and report potholes as they see them.

If a driver wishes to wait on the completion of her claim to repair her vehicle, she must submit two written estimates for the cost of repairing the damage.

Drivers should note that any payment they receive from the city will be half of the total cost of the repairs, at most. This is because the city operates on the theory that the driver is partially responsible for hitting the pothole.

After filing a claim, be prepared to wait. Completing the process for a typical claim can take nearly a year. This is because the claim must be processed through the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Finance and must be passed as a formal piece of legislation.

Just because a claim is filed doesn’t mean that it will be paid out. In order to mitigate this risk, it’s highly recommended that the claim include as much information as possible, including pictures.

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