You have only a 16% chance of getting Cleveland to pay for pothole damage to your car

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:40 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The potholes in the city of Cleveland are hard to avoid, significantly so, after a long, cold, snowy winter.

But, the city seems to be doing a very good job of avoiding paying anyone who believes they have suffered pothole damage.

Information received following a public records request shows the city of Cleveland received 50 claims from people who applied to be reimbursed for damage they believed had been caused by potholes in the city.

Of those claimants, only eight received some form of payment.

That means that 84% of those who filed claims were denied.

The city’s website includes a form for those who want to file a claim but also states this warning:

Special Notice Regarding Potholes: The City is not responsible for damages caused by potholes if it did not know about the potholes and have a chance to fix it before the damage occurred.

Of the eight claims that were paid, the city paid out only $2,100.

The fact that only 50 people filed claims, at first shocked Vanessa Kirk, the co-owner of One Stop Auto Repair in Cleveland.

“I am very surprised but I’ve had a lot of people come in and they’ve tried to make claims in the past and they knew it was just a dead-end street,” she said.

Kirk believes the difficulty of navigating the form online and the low success rate have simply kept people from filing claims.

The shop owners said they take in at least four cars a week with damage, some of it significant, from potholes and she senses the frustration from those customers who do try and navigate the process.

“They’ll come in and keep asking for copies of their receipts so they can keep sending them in and sending them in and I’ll see them and ask them if they ever got it taken care of or reimbursed and they say no,” Kirk said.

We reached out to city officials to ask about the decision making criteria regarding pothole claims but as of this publication had not heard back.

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