It's that time of year again!  Along with the beautiful flowers and grass come all those nasty potholes.  Did your car suffer some damage due to one of them?  Here's how to file a claim.

I want to stress that this isn't something that you should do if you run into a pole in a parking lot.  This is to file a property damage claim due to your vehicle sustaining damage after hitting a pothole.

Let's be honest, according to idrivesafely.com the odds are not in your favor.  You aren't going to want to hire a lawyer because it will probably cost you more than the damage repair would. However, New York State has paid out $138 million to settle pothole claims over the last couple years.

What do you need to file your own claim?  Make sure you're prepared with:

  • A Vehicular Property Damage Form (This one is from NYC but will help with the info you'll need)
  • Date/Time of incident
  • Photos or videos of the property damage to your car and the street defect involved.
  • Damage repair estimates from at least two mechanics.
  • Call the police and have a report filed (if possible).
  • The way the claim arose
  • The items damaged (including dollar amounts).
  • Witnesses to the incident (if there are any), include their names and contact information.

Where do you file it?

County of Erie
Department of Law
ATTN: Property Damage Department
95 Franklin Street, Room 1634
Buffalo, New York 14202

Telephone: (716) 858-2234
Facsimile: (716) 858-2281

Remember that your file must be delivered personally by hand, registered mail, or certified mail.