Action 9: Drivers almost never win pothole claims in Meck County

CHARLOTTE — A pothole in the road can cause damage to your car and in Mecklenburg County, don’t expect anyone else to foot the bill.

Danielle Tobin-Bastone was just trying to get home after a long day of work.

She told Channel 9′s Jason Stoogenke she hit a pothole at the intersection of Texland Boulevard and Westinghouse Boulevard. The impact damaged her tire and rim, she said.

“I’m out 200-and-something dollars for a tire and a rim, and on a brand new car no less,” Tobin-Bastone said. “So very frustrating.”

That pothole is fixed now, but Tobin-Bastone expected the state — which maintains that particular road — to reimburse her too. It said no.

“We pay taxes toward fixing the roads, so I feel if there’s something wrong with the road and causes damage, that they should have to pay for it,” said Destiny Spiva, Tobin-Bastone’s friend who helped her change her tire that day.

“I didn’t think I was going to get denied. I actually thought they were going to do something … pay for it,” Tobin-Bastone said. “A brand new car and I had to pay that much money for the tire and they’re not going to take care of it?”

Action 9 asked the state how many times it reimbursed drivers for pothole damage in all of Mecklenburg County last year.

They said 50 claims were received and 44 of those were denied. The other six claims were still awaiting a decision.

Stoogenke also asked the city of Charlotte how many times it said yes to drivers over the same time period. At last check, it said it had 84 claims, processed 74 of them, and paid out one -- for $169.99.

If a pothole damages your car:

  • Document the damage.
  • Figure out who maintains the road: the city of Charlotte or the state.
  • Submit your claim.

In the city of Charlotte:

On the state side:

You need to prove two things to win:

  • The government knew about the pothole.
  • It had enough time to fix it.

You can always sue, but it may still be hard to win.

At least by reporting potholes, you may help the next driver.

If it’s a city of Charlotte road, call 311, use the CLT+ app or fill out this form. If it’s a state road, fill out this form.

(WATCH BELOW: Action 9 Investigates: How local agencies avoid paying when potholes damage your car)