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Who Pays For Pothole Damage?

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Jon Delano Jon Delano
Jon Delano is a familiar face on KDKA-TV, having been the station's...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sometimes it’s hard to tell Pittsburgh’s potholed roads from, well, the moon.

The bumpy crevices and uneven surface on the moon don’t seem much different from, say, Brookline Boulevard where it’s hard to find a flat surface anywhere.

Then, there’s Mossfield Street where cars try hard to dodge the holes.

After all, hitting a pothole can be costly.

“Average cost for damage with potholes that we found at State Farm is $300 to $700 on average,” said Jennifer Johnson Nazareth, a State Farm agent.

Let’s face it, it’s not your fault — it’s the municipality, or county, or state that failed to keep the road in passable condition.

In most cases, your auto insurance will cover the cost above your deductible, but can you recover the deductible or other out-of-pocket costs from the state for its poor roads?

Forget it, says attorney Rick Rosenthal at Edgar Snyder and Associates. State law immunizes the government from lawsuit.

“This legislation prevents you from ever bringing a property damage case against the state of Pennsylvania,” said Rosentahl.

It’s possible to sue a municipality if it’s their road, except “most of it is covered by your insurance, and you’re going to probably be found at fault for hitting the pothole,” Rosenthal says.

Yep, it’s your fault. You hit the pothole you didn’t create.

What if you or a passenger is injured?

Well, you can sue but lawyers say it’s hard to win because state law requires the responsible government agency to have had prior notice of the dangerous condition with sufficient time to repair the problem.

That’s quite a loophole — enough to send us back to the moon.

RELATED LINKS:
More Pothole Patrol News
More Reports by Jon Delano

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