COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There are many staples to Ohio winters: skiing, sledding, and potholes.
But if a particularly nasty pothole damages your vehicle, you may be able to recover some of the repair costs from the city, county, or state. It all depends on the road.
When the city pays
The city of Columbus is responsible for the maintenance of all roadways within city limits, as well as portions of State Routes 315, 33, and 104 that fall within Columbus’ boundaries, according to the Department of Public Service.
If a pothole needs repaired, the city recommends residents contact the 311 Service Center equipped with an address or intersection near the pothole so the request can be scheduled. The Street Maintenance Section boasts a 90% pothole-fill rate within three days, according to the city. Street maintenance investigators also patrol the city’s streets for signs of pesky roadway holes.
Not everyone whose car gets dinged up by a pothole can retrieve funds from the city, however. According to the Columbus City Attorney’s Office, a person filing a roadway condition-related suit against the city must prove one of two things:
- The city had actual or constructive notice of the pothole and failed to respond in a reasonable amount of time or responded in a negligent manner
- The city, in a general sense, maintains its roadways negligently
Once a driver files a complaint, the city will investigate the claim and either approve or deny it. There is no formal appeals process, according to the city attorney’s office.
If a claim has been approved, you’ll be required to sign a release and complete a W-9 form before you are reimbursed. A full checklist of items to include in a complaint as well as the claim form is available here.
When ODOT pays
If your car gets damaged by a pothole outside Columbus — or any other municipality — the Ohio Department of Transportation may be on the hook.
According to ODOT, the state is liable for damages caused by roadway conditions on all interstates, U.S. and State Routes outside of municipalities. ODOT recommends checking its map resources to determine whether a pothole is under the state’s purview.
Drivers can report vehicle damage or a roadway defect by filling out ODOT’s online form here. Once a report is filed, an ODOT representative will contact you within two business days to confirm which entity is liable for the claim.
For more information about ODOT’s coverage areas and report procedures, go to the ODOT website.
When the Turnpike pays
If a pothole or other roadway conditions damage your car on the Ohio Turnpike, the potentially liable authority is the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.
You can file a claim on the Ohio Turnpike website here. You can also mail claims to the Turnpike’s legal department. Check the Ohio Turnpike website for a list of required information.