Want to get reimbursed for pothole damage from Indiana interstates? Don’t count on it

MARION COUNTY, Ind. – Potholes aren’t just a problem for the city of Indianapolis.

State officials are working to figure out solutions for interstates and state routes, too.

“We’ve been getting numerous phone calls, numerous emails,” said INDOT spokesperson Lamar Holliday. “People have been sending us pictures of the potholes and how it’s taking an effect on our vehicles.”

INDOT started a pothole blitz of its own Monday on I-465, with more work starting overnight on I-69, I-65 and I-70 after traffic died down.

“We’re having some warmer weather and it looks like there’s going to be a little bit of a stretch of that,” said Holliday. “That right there for us is key for making sure that we can get in, fix the potholes and have them actually stay.”

Holliday hopes their pothole blitz will leave fewer drivers waiting on tow trucks, counting up all the money they’re about to shell out. That’s important because chances of the state reimbursing you for damage are slim.

A public records request shows how the state’s approval rates stack up against the city of Indianapolis.

In 2015, 128 of 1,091 state claims were paid out, while 777 were outright denied. That’s an approval rate of about 12 percent to the city’s 13 percent.

In 2016, 11 percent of the 796 claims made by drivers were repaid, compared to Indy’s 1.8 percent.

And in 2017, just eight percent of the 738 state claims got the rubber stamp of approval, again almost equal to the city’s nine percent approval rate.

Holliday believes INDOT’s long-term plan for maintenance and upkeep of state roads will help fewer people have to file a tort claim in the first place, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.

He also acknowledged though, that after a brutal winter, the plan in place now could be in flux. Bad roads could get overhauls sooner rather than later.

“We’re always evaluating, looking at the certain infrastructure and looking at the need within that community and seeing if we can bring that project to fruition a lot sooner than expected,” said Holliday.