Reporting a pothole

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Whether it damaged your vehicle or not, there's more reason tonight to report the hazard. It could determine whether you get paid for damages.

What happened to Teresa and Melissa is the best reason to report a pothole as soon as you hit it. Call VDOT, or go to their website. In this case, a paper trail of complaints is necessary to get paid.

There's no way either wheel will support a tire now. Both are bent beyond repair says shop owner, Glenn Stamey. The car hit the pothole with enough force to blow off the wheel covers and dent the wheels.

"I'm surprised they didn't wreck," he said.

The car's owners are even more surprised by the reason VDOT's interstate maintenance contractor gave for denying their damage claim.

"First I laughed.... Let me re read this. 'Transfield Services is not responsible for all incidents  ... Without prior knowledge of the hazard,'" said Teresa Parnell.

In other words, because they were the 'first' to report the pothole the claim was denied. There has to be a prior complaint informing VDOT about the hazard.

"You need to show negligence. You need to show that we were notified and that we waited too long to fill it," said VDOT spokesperson, Dawn Eischen.

"I'm being rejected because I was the first," said Melissa Nyhammer. "The next person that comes along, the very next day perhaps and does this, they're going to be covered and I'm not because I was the one that found it?"

The pothole collision happened December 2nd in the merge lane from the Broad Street West exit ramp to 64 East. We checked the spot three days ago and the pothole was still there. Transfield Services says crews are working 10 hour days, but some potholes won't get patched, and those that are, are getting a temporary fix.

"It depends on the location and the severity. If it's an emergency pothole on the interstate then those are filled within hours," Eischen said.

"$470. Not asking for any inconvenience. Just the repairs to my car," said Parnell.

Transfield Services has agreed to 'reconsider' their claim. VDOT says, of the 1600 Virginians who filed claims last year, only a fraction got paid, mainly because they could not prove negligence.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.