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i-Team Consumer Help: Driver struggles to collect on pothole damage claim

Pothole damage.PNG

Drivers know the frustration when it comes to potholes. Tires, wheels, suspensions all take a beating. Gary Tutt says a pothole on Lomb Avenue and Border Street busted two wheels and blew a tire back in November.

He had to call roadside service to get moving again. Tutt says he didn't see the pothole because it was getting dark and he wasn't familiar with the area, but he sure felt it in his low riding vehicle. The repair estimate was over a thousand dollars.

Nearly two months later we found the pothole still rattling vehicles. The City of Birmingham denied Tutt's claim saying there is "no indication that the city or any of its workers caused damage to your vehicle." The law department put the blame on Jefferson County's Environmental Services. But the county said no, it wasn't responsible.

Not sure where to turn, Tutt called ABC3340's i-Team. After calls to the water and gas companies to determine who had been working in the area, Spire Energy said one of their contractors had been out there and left a temporary patch. A rep told us the settling and sinking issue in the pavement would be leveled off and a permanent repair done soon. Tutt now plans to pursue damages with their contractor.

Legal experts say to be successful you have to prove there was negligence and that the road defect existed for a period of time. That's why it is so important to report potholes. Claims can be denied if there's been no notice of the defect.

To file a claims:

State of Alabama

http://bdadj.alabama.gov/pages/forms_instr.aspx

Jefferson County

http://www.jccal.org/Default.asp?ID=490&pg=Risk+Management

City of Birmingham

https://www.birminghamal.gov/about/city-directory/legal-department/

Submit 311 requests online

http://311.birminghamal.gov/Default.aspx

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