Pothole damage claims; how much did taxpayers spend?

Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-22 01:01:54-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) Trying to avoid potholes can sometimes make drivers feel like they’re on a test driving course quickly turning the wheel to dodge an orange cone.

“You have to swerve a lot,” Richmond resident Parfait Ruhiza said.

But, last October, Matt Satterwhite met a Richmond pothole he could not avoid.

“It was a harsh hit,” Satterwhite said.

Two of Satterwhite’s four tires busted when he drove through a pothole on Cary Street where roadwork was being done.

“It was traumatic,” Satterwhite said.

Several others drove through the very same pothole also receiving tire and rim damage.

The city ended up paying out claims for their damages.

“When somebody hits a pothole they believe is the city’s fault, they are certainly at liberty to file a claim through the city attorney’s office.  The city will look into it and investigate the matter.  If it is found the city at fault, their claim can be paid,” Sharon North, the Public Information Officer for the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Works said.

We wanted to know how often the city has to pay to repair people’s tires when they hit potholes.

A CBS6 review of liability claim numbers over the past two years, revealed that Richmond paid more than $14,000 for repairs to 38 vehicles damaged by potholes.

“It’s just something that happens and we deal with it,” North said.

Richmond paid out several claims for vehicles damaged by this pothole on Cary St.

Richmond paid out several claims for vehicles damaged by this pothole on Cary St.

Over that same time period, Henrico County spent over $3,300 to repair damage from potholes.

Chesterfield County does not do its own road work.

The Virginia Department of Transportation maintains Chesterfield’s roads.

VDOT spent more than $7,000 to fix cars damaged by potholes, however, that number does not include any claims higher than $1,000.

The Virginia Department of Treasury’s Division of Risk Management handles claims higher than $1,000.