Man's car damaged by pothole, city refuses to pay for repair

Posted at 8:55 AM, Dec 04, 2018

Javier Carrion thought he did everything right after hitting a pothole that damaged his car.

He filed a police report, took pictures and shopped around for repair estimates. He got estimates totaling more than $800 to repair his 2013 Honda Accord.

“My car is in the shop, I have to pay that out of pocket. I work, I am not a rich man,” Carrion told WTVJ.

The incident happened in September. Carrion said it was raining as he drove down NW 117th Way in Medley, Florida.

“It’s like bam! Just like an explosive,” Carrion recalled about the day he hit the pothole.

He said he didn’t see it because the street was flooded.

“I’m driving through a street that has water and has potholes. That’s not my fault. That’s the city fault,” Carrion said.

He filed a claim to be paid for the damage with the Town of Medley but the town denied to pay it.

WTVJ checked and found few pothole claims being paid in our area. In Miami-Dade County, drivers submitted more than 300 pothole claims in the last two years and 63 were reimbursed. The county also reported it has repaired 26,067 potholes.

In Broward County, 17 claims have been filed in the same time period and only one driver got paid. The county said it’s repaired approximately 3,900 potholes.

When we reached out to the Town of Medley about Carrion’s claim, a representative told us in a statement:

“At this time and based on the limited information provided, the Town’s insurance carrier has declined the claim as the Town had no prior knowledge of the pothole condition. Once the Town was notified, or the road condition was brought to the attention of the Town, it was promptly repaired. Please know the Town regularly performs inspections and maintenance of its roads and repairs any damage detected. The Town has no available public records as to the number of pothole claims submitted last year.”

Attorney Bonnie Riley has good news for drivers with denied claims, stating that they do have options.

“What you have to be able to prove is the city knew or should have known that there was damage to the street and they didn’t take action to fix it,” Riley told us.

She said you should keep all documents related to the claim and take pictures.

She also advised finding people who have reported street damage in the same area could help.

“Perhaps they would be willing to talk about the fact that these potholes existed for years, or months or whatever it may have been. Or perhaps those neighbors have called and reported that the street needed to be repaired,” Riley said.

She added submitting a public records request to the city may help you find out if the pothole was previously reported.

When we submitted an open records request with the Town of Medley asking for records on pothole locations and reports we were sent the following reply: “The Town of Medley has no available public records as to the number of potholes reported or every pothole location from 2016 to the present.”

Carrion is still hoping the town will take another look at his claim.

“All I want is for my car to get repaired, that’s all,” said Carrion.

The Town of Medley told us though they don’t keep track of pothole locations.

“The Town makes regular inspections of its roadways for pothole conditions as a matter of course and repairs potholes approximately 24 hours from the time observed by the Town or reported by third-parties,” the town said in a statement. “In this instance, the area in question was inspected approximately one month prior to the incident being reported without any issue present, and no report was made by third-parties to the Town of any pothole condition. There was a significant rain event which could have possibly caused, and obscured, the pothole in question. Finally, when a third-party calls to report a pothole condition, calls are typically routed to the Public Works Director, wherein efforts are made to repair the pothole within 24 hours of such notice.”


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