Most claims for pothole damage reimbursement denied in Petersbur - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Most claims for pothole damage reimbursement denied in Petersburg

A pothole in Petersburg (Source: NBC12) A pothole in Petersburg (Source: NBC12)

Drivers, beware. If you run into a pothole on a city street, don't expect to be automatically reimbursed for damages. That's the message from the city of Petersburg after a neighbor there says he's some $1200 hundred dollars in the hole. He took his claim to the city and after being denied, he contacted NBC12.

It is the last thing anyone wants to happen. It’s very possible to drive down the street and suddenly bump into a pothole. Turns out, just because your car is damaged by one, it doesn't mean the city has to pay up.

"I called it the Grand Canyon,” Petersburg resident Claudell Hendricks joked.

It’s how he referred to Route 460 outside of his home before the city began a recent re-paving project. One night, it became all too real.

"I couldn't get over because a car was beside me, and I hit that hole,” he explained.

It left his front wheel in dis-repair.

"I went to Richmond and tried to have it repaired," Hendricks explained. "They did the best they could but told me it wouldn't be perfect."

$300 later, he says it's far from perfect and causes a vibration on the road.

“To replace the wheel is another $995,” he added.

Hendricks took is claim to the city and just got a letter in the mail saying his request for assistance is denied.

"If it is the city's fault in terms of not filling the pothole in time, and the resident has incurred damages, then it’s definitely the resident’s right to receive those fundings [sic] back,” Petersburg spokesperson Jay Ell Alexander said.

However, Alexander says the city's insurance company makes that call on a case by case basis.

NBC12 has learned 51 people have taken claims to the city since the start of the year. Only one of them received reimbursement.

"If it's a re-occurring issue, then yeah they will definitely find the city liable," Alexander added. "If you see a pothole and you just blatantly drive across it because you don't think anything is going to happen to your car, then that's the type of situation the insurance company may question.”

The insurance company says it will only pay if the city is “grossly negligent” regarding a pothole.

"They had the pothole here and you got personal property tax," Hendricks added. "I thought that should handle road work."

City leaders say there is an appeals process so just because you get a rejection letter in the mail, that doesn't have to be the end of the story.

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

Report an Error or Submit a Tip to NBC12

Powered by Frankly