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The Register/USA As we speak

A social media publish has been making the rounds this week promising a easy answer for Des Moines drivers with pothole-damaged automobiles.  

Request a claim type from the town. Get an estimate. Take footage. And the town will “care for the remaining,” it reads.

But that is not exactly the case.

Because the submit first showed up Monday, Des Moines Metropolis Lawyer Jeff Lester stated his department has been bombarded with greater than one hundred fifty claims for pothole-associated injury — probably the most the town has acquired in a minimum of 5 years.  

Des Moines is investigating each declare. However car house owners anticipating a payout from the town are more likely to be dissatisfied.

Prior to now five years, Lester stated he isn’t aware of any claims paid to drivers for pothole-related injury. 

“Cities aren’t insurers of their roads,” Lester stated in a press release. “For a metropolis to be chargeable for the condition of its roads, it should have prior notice of a specific situation and should have not repaired that condition in an inexpensive time interval after notice.”

► Extra: Des Moines man peppered with indignant pothole complaints after fallacious telephone number is revealed

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A pothole on Park Avenue near SW thirty second Place pictured on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (Photograph: Register file photograph)

When a pothole has been reported, the town has some leeway before it becomes chargeable for damages, Lester stated, especially when Des Moines has hundreds of pothole studies over tons of of miles of roads, which is the case this yr.

Iowa regulation also makes use of the concept of “comparative fault,” Lester stated, which means drivers should modify their driving to the street circumstances. 

The story is identical in different metro cities.  

“Principally, we’re immune until we acquired notice,” stated Bret Hodne, public providers director in West Des Moines, which had not acquired any pothole injury claims as of Thursday afternoon. 

For those wishing to submit a declare in Des Moines, Lester stated the right approach is by filling out a form from the city’s website or requesting one by phone at 515-283-4564 or 515-283-4130. The city will investigate and notify the claimant of the result by mail. 

Lester said the city will need “a substantial period of time” to investigate the large number of claims filed this year.

Insurance could help

Odds are slim that drivers with pothole damage will see any help from the city. But if a pothole causes extensive damage, it’s possible that insurance could pitch in. 

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Lynne McChristian, a spokeswoman with the Insurance Information Institute, said damage from hitting a pothole is included under collision coverage, which about three in four drivers carry. She said such policies often have a deductible, which can range from $100 to $1,000.

“If the damage is higher than the deductible, it’s something…