More than a dozen vehicles were damaged by a pothole on Losson Road near Borden Road in Cheektowaga on Friday.
“As soon as I heard the bang, I knew it was not good, because that was a hard, hard hit,” explained Kimberly Moser, whose car was damaged by the pothole.
Moser was right. Within half a block she pulled over to find two flat tires and two damaged rims from a pothole at Losson and Borden.
“I went to look at how deep the pothole was,” Moser said. “You could put your whole foot down into it.”
Moser was not the only victim. Cheektowaga Police say 14 other cars were also damaged from the same pothole. Because of construction in the area, officials say the pothole could not be avoided. The dark evening also made it hard for drivers to see. AAA said it had to tow multiple cars from the area Friday evening and one on Saturday morning.
Moser says she is now out $300, just as she was getting ready to buy Christmas gifts for her one year old son.
The process of getting the damage caused by a pothole paid for largely depends on the cost of the damage. David Weber with AAA Insurance explained that, “from an insurance perspective, it’s really filing with your company, paying your deductible and then letting them fight to try to get the deductible back.”
However, Weber said in some cases the consumer may have to fight to get their own money back.
“If it’s anywhere near or lower than your deductible, you probably just want to pay out of pocket.” The consumer would then fight for their own money back, which are the steps Moser plans to take.
Obtaining a refund at all could depend on where the pothole is located.
Moser’s car was damaged on an Erie County road. In order to obtain a refund, those whose vehicles sustained damage due to the pothole have 90 days to file a claim. The victim would have to send a letter to the County of Erie – Department of Law, attention Property Damage Department, to 94 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. The notarized letter must state the complainant’s name, address, nature of the claim, when and where it occurred and two estimates of the damage.
A representative from Erie County says that no special investigation or additional stipulations are needed. He adds that there is no average wait time for a claim to be reimbursed.
However, state roads and Thruways are a different story. From November 15 through April 30, the state is not liable for reimbursing owners of cars damaged by potholes. A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation says that is because during those months, the state’s first priority must be clearing ice and snow from the road, making potholes a secondary concern. The spokesperson says that the state must show negligence in fixing a pothole for a refund to be issued.
Anybody who sees a pothole on a state road or Thruway is urged to call 1-800-POTHOLE.
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