This is the age old question: Can I get reimbursed for pot hole damage to my car? Is Michigan responsible?

Even though it's technically not pot hole season yet since those critters seem to erupt after winters' freeze, we all wonder if there is any financial help available at all.

mechanic behind tire
BHFoton/Getty Images

So many of us have ended up in the repair shop with flat tires, bent rims or worse. And since it happened on a public road we think, hey, maybe the city, county or state even, will reimburse me for my expense.

GOOD LUCK with that!

BrianAJackson/Getty Images

The website Bridge Michigan, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news source, says yes, you could be eligible for compensation of up to $1,000 if the road agency in charge knew or should have known about a defect “and had a reasonable time to repair the defect” typically 30 days.

GOOD LUCK with that!

Bluberries/Getty Images

You'll find that payouts rarely happen -- less than 10% of the time, and less than that for counties.

However, the Bridge Michigan website does say there are some steps you can take to try to get some reimbursement.

GOOD LUCK with that!

First of all, document the incident. Take photos of the damage and note where the incident occurred. If police are called, follow up with the agency to obtain a copy of the report.

Potholes In The Roads Surrounding Glasgow
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Keep receipts for any repairs. If you file a claim with your auto insurance to help cover damage costs, keep those records handy as well.

Claims for damages under $1,000 not covered by auto insurance can be considered by road agencies. To seek damages over $1,000, be prepared to sue, as those claims typically have to go through the courts.

Are you having fun yet?

frustrated young child sulking with crossed arms and dirty look

The crazy thing is that Michigan has more than 122,000 miles of public roadways that are maintained by a patchwork of agencies. For the best chance at filing a successful claim you'll have to figure out which road agency is responsible for the specific road where the incident occurred.

My head is spinning!

Sad and worried entrepreneur with laptop
AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

Now, the claim form is another problem since each group may have their own so make sure you get the proper one, and don't wait to file. To be considered eligible, you must file within 120 days for state roads and 90 days for local roads.

Justice is served
james steidl/Getty Images

Here is another rub. Under Michigan law, road agencies and other government bodies are generally protected from liability claims. One exception to that rule allows the public to seek damages for defective highways if the agency knew about a defect “and had a reasonable time to repair the defect” before something happened, which the law defines as a 30-day window.

So, technically, the answer is YES! But, is the hassle worth it?


19 Things Michiganders Hate About Michigan





More From 100.5 FM The River