Caltrans offers up to $10,000 to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes on California freeways -- a program of renewed significance amid the roadway hazards caused by the recent series of atmospheric rivers that have drenched the state.
A damage claim can be filed directly with the agency by anyone who believes that "the action or inaction" of the California Department of Transportation "has caused him or her monetary loss," according to dot.ca.gov.
On Wednesday, more than 30 vehicles were disabled with flat tires and other damage after driving over large potholes on the rain-soaked 71 Freeway in Pomona, authorities said.
The Caltrans website includes instructions on how to file a claim arising from such incidents, noting that the county in which it occurred must be provided. Each of the state's counties is covered by a specific District Claims Office.
"Potholes can not only impact your tire rim but it can also damage your suspension and on average the cost of a pothole repair," noted Doug Shupe of the Auto Club of Southern California. "It varies between $250 to more than $1,000."
Claims over $10,000 must be submitted to the California Government Claims Program, which "gives you the opportunity to formally demand compensation for your loss, and may lead to a settlement of your claim without the need to file a lawsuit," Caltrans says.
For more information about the Government Claims Program or to request a claim form, write to:
Government Claims Program
Office of Risk and Insurance Management
Department of General Services
P.O. Box 989052, MS 414
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9052
Phone (toll-free): 1-800-955-0045