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Is automobile pothole damage worth filing a claim?

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Chicago has the third worst unemployment rate in the nation and one of the highest combined sales tax rates so the idea of the city paying drivers back for pothole repairs may seem laughable. Depending on who you ask, it probably is. But for those who are adamant about being reimbursed for a street repair problem that should be resolved and is not the driver's fault, it's worth a try.

Before filing a claim for pothole repairs, make sure the following information is available:

  • Receipts for any car repair damage with proof that the pothole is the cause of it (must be paid in full)
  • Proof of valid auto insurance
  • Copy of the Damage to Vehicle Claim Form
  • Information on the time, date, location (including cross streets) where the damage occurred
  • Police report number for automobile damage
  • Optional: Name of witness who saw the automobile being damaged by pothole
  • Optional: Photograph of where the pothole is (Use hazard lights and park at a safe distance to take these photos if the pothole is not easily accessible.)

Once this information has been collected, mail or hand deliver the packet to the following address:

Office of the City Clerk
Attn: Claims
121 N. LaSalle St, Room 107
Chicago, IL 60602-1295

Does this sound exhausting? Well, consider the amount of hard work and money that the owner must use to recoup the auto damage prices.

The time it'll take for pothole damage repair reimbursement can take anywhere from six months to one year so don't count on these funds to be readily available in a short time frame. In the meantime, make sure to report that same pothole and use Pothole Tracker for additional street repairs. If residents work together to report all potholes instead of just complaining about why the City should fix potholes that they may not know are on each city block, this could help other drivers avoid the same fate.

Editor's Note: The pothole pictured above caused a bent wheel and muffler damage to the Chicago Personal Finance Examiner. The claim was filed in April 2013. Reimbursement results didn't come until May 2014. So it is possible that it may take more than a year to get a response. And when the response comes, the check is not included. The automobile owner must confirm the settled amount from the City Council Committee on Finance in the Small Claims and Rebates Division before a check will be mailed.

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