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It looks like the city will be digging deep to compensate drivers whose vehicles sustained damage from hitting a pothole.
In early March, we reported that the city received an incredible 900 claims for pothole vehicle damage for January of 2018, surpassing the total of 872 filed for all of 2017, a more temperate winter.
The city has just released statistics that illustrate how damaging the winter of 2018 has been to roads and vehicles. A total of 601 pothole damage claims were filed in February, and another 465 for March.
That adds up to 1,966 claims for the first three months of 2018, by far the most since the punishing winter of 2013-14 (remember the ice storm, and the brutally cold and snowy three months that followed?), when a total of 2,432 claims were filed for 2014.
We averaged out the claim denial rate over the same five years, and came up with 55 per cent. So the city paid out on 45 per cent of all claims made over that time period.
At a pay rate of 45 per cent, that’s about 884 claims. At an average of $ 630 per claim, it adds up to $ 556,920. The math is imprecise, but it gives us a ballpark idea of how much the city could be on the hook for pothole damage.
City spokesperson Paula Chung, who provided us with the figures, noted in an email that “these numbers will change over time as the city’s database tracks by date of loss, so a report six months from now may look different, with higher numbers.”
In other words, we can count on a much higher total for 2018, especially with nearly eight months left in the year.
And the three-day deluge of ice pellets, freezing rain and drenching showers that we just endured seems to have accelerated the formation of even more potholes that could damage vehicles.
Transportation services workers will soon be swinging into their annual spring pothole patching blitz. They have their work cut out for them.
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