Tulsans Find It Tough To Get Reimbursed For Pothole Damage To Cars

Monday, March 17th 2014, 6:28 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Many drivers are experiencing car damage due to potholes on Green County roads. On Monday, a monster pothole on the Broken Arrow Expressway damaged several.

It's not easy to get reimbursed for damage to your car, but it is possible. It's likely to be more of an issue in the coming months due to Tulsa's hard winter, and with rain coming in the spring, we'll have plenty of potholes.

They're everywhere, not just on the highways but on the city streets, too.

3/7/2014 Related Story: City Repairing ‘Pothole Pandemic' In Tulsa

Monday morning a hole opened up on the Broken Arrow Expressway, and several cars came out of it with flat tires. There's no doubt what caused the damage, but also little chance the state will be on the hook for it. That's because a repair crew was on the scene quickly to patch it.

Drivers can make claims but the standard is, the state or city has to have been notified but then fail to promptly respond. It's vague, a "reasonable" time.

Martin Stewart, with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said, "They'll call, but we have to be notified about the pothole, but we have to have adequate time to make the repairs," said Martin Stewart with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Stewart said ODOT responds to all pothole reports within 36 hours, and to the ones that are damaging cars, right away.

"It's been like that for the last couple of weeks, a lot of phone calls, a lot of potholes to get out and patch," Stewart said.

The City of Tulsa has a process for making claims too, and virtually the same guidelines for paying them.

Leon Kragel with the City of Tulsa, said, "We've got to be aware of the hazard before there can be a claim for it. What we try to do is address all hazards immediately, so if there is a claim that comes through, we do our research, go back and see if it's something we've been notified of before."

Within the last year, the city of Tulsa had 13 pothole claims and the state had 12 for all of northeast Oklahoma, all of which were denied.

They encourage people to report potholes, especially the ones bad enough to damage tires. You can go to the City of Tulsa's website or call 918-596-2100 for city streets. For state highways, you can call ODOT at 918-898-9933.