OKLAHOMA CITY – You’ve probably seen it a time or two; in fact, officials say Oklahoma City work crews park and patch potholes on city streets about 80,000 times a year.
For drivers, the cost of crashing into a pothole can run into the thousands.
Katie Gammon hit a pothole on S.W. 89th St. in March of 2013.
She said, “I knew automatically that I’d messed up my car. I had to pull over to the side.”
Gammon was driving not too far from Oklahoma City Community College when she hit a strip of monster potholes, which damaged her vehicle.
She said, “I had to get everything replaced under my wheel. The frame of my wheel, the tire. Everything had to be replaced.”
She used her student loan money to get it fixed since the repairs cost $951.84.
Gammon is one of 67 Oklahoma City drivers who filed a pothole claim against the city in 2013.
Collectively, those claimants asked for $36,705.24 in repairs.
About half of them, 49 percent, got paid to repair $16,582.25 in damage.
Tina Hughes, an Oklahoma City municipal attorney, said, “If you are damaged inside the city, you can file a claim for those damages.”
In 2012, the city paid out on 68 percent of claims totaling $29,006.46 in damage checks.
In 2011, 65 percent of drivers got paid $20,072.47 for their pothole damage.
“We think you should be paid in the claims stage earlier on without having to file a lawsuit against the city if we’re liable,” said Hughes. “So, that’s why we investigate every single one of them to see if we are.”
According to Hughes, who runs the pothole claims division at city hall, if the city knew about the hole before you hit it, you will probably get a check to pay for your damage.
If the city was not aware of the pothole and did not have a chance to fix it, you’ll be on your own for paying for repairs.
If you hit a pothole which caused damage to your vehicle in a construction area the city municiple counselor’s office will likely deny your claim because construction contractors have insurance to cover driver damage.
Officials recommend calling the construction company to file a claim with their company to receive reimbursement for vehicle damage.