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Who Is Liable to Pay for Pothole Repairs?

WEST SPRINGFIELD/HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) –Tire Warehouse was one of the first places people went after their tires blew on Rt. 5, battling potholes. “We’ve been seeing a lot of damage, Between tires, wheels, the whole thing. People are calling us off the hook, wondering if they have road hazard coverage or not,” said manager Tim Dowley.

In fact, in recent days, John Dowd has seen several people coming into his office in similar situations, wondering if or where the municipality becomes responsible.

“Cities and towns have liabilities, but they’re protected under state law for physical damage and liability, so it’s difficult to make a claim against a city or town,”

According to Dowd, insurance will pay for the damage, and you’ll have a deductible.

However, if you chose to go against the city, town, or even state, the burden of proof is on you. “You’ve got to be able to demonstrate the pothole was there, that the city or town had been told there was a pothole that they didn’t do anything to remedy the situation. In turn you can remedy the claim, and hope to get up to $300,” Dowd stated.

Some cities and towns won’t even entertain a claim if you’re not from there. For example, if you live in Springfield and pop your tire on a Chicopee pothole, don’t expect that claim to go very far.

“I think the problem is they’d be writing checks right and left if it were easy to get recourse from the city or town. You have to file a copy of your registration, license, and auto insurance policy before you can even file,” added Dowd.

Or, you can just pay out of pocket.

Both Dowd & Dowley chalk the whole thing as just one aspect to living in New England.

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