NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hundreds of Tennesseans are making efforts to get reimbursed for the damages to their vehicles caused by potholes.
Since the start of 2022, the Tennessee Department of Treasury has received 2,550 claims due to damage caused by a pothole. However, officials said almost 150 of the claims are not eligible because the damage did not happen on a state-maintained road. Also, they said the vast majority of the claims are still pending because the Division of Claims and Risk Management has 90 days from the date the claim is received to review the claim and any supporting documentation and determine if the State is liable for damages.
“The state does not simply pay for pothole damage. People who allege they have been damaged due to negligence on behalf of a state agency can apply for compensation through the Tennessee Department of Treasury. Tennessee is actually on one of a few states that provide a method for compensation due to negligence,” said Tennessee Department of Treasury Communications Director Shelli King in a statement. “When filing a claim against the state, the person must prove negligence on behalf of the state agency, in this case, the Department of Transportation. Tennessee law requires that in order for the state to approve a claim and pay for damages, the damage must have occurred on a state-maintained road, not on a road maintained by a city, county, or other entity, and the state must have been aware of the specific problem area, and been given a reasonable amount of time to repair it.”
The department didn’t have information for 2021 claims. But in 2020 there were 1,035 claims filed and just 7 were approved. In 2019 1,271 claims were filed and 19 were approved.
“All I can say is we’re trying to do better,” said TDOT Interim Commissioner Joe Galbato. “At this point, there has not been a single claim that has come to TDOT that we have not had information on that we have not given back to the Treasury.”