COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There are plenty of staples in Ohio winters: skiing, sledding and potholes.

But if a particularly nasty pothole damages your vehicle, you may be able to recoup some of the repair costs from the city, county or state. It all depends on the path.

When the city pays

The city of Columbus is responsible for maintaining all roads within the city limits, as well as portions of State Routes 315, 33 and 104 that lie within the Columbus limits, according to the Department of Public Service.

If a pothole needs to be repaired, the City recommends that residents contact the 311 Service Center equipped with an address or intersection near the pothole so that the request can be scheduled. The Street Maintenance Section boasts a pothole fill rate of 90% in three days, according to the city. Street maintenance investigators also patrol the city streets for signs of nuisance potholes in the roads.

However, not everyone whose car is dented by a pothole can recover funds from the city. According to the Columbus City Attorney’s Office, a person filing a lawsuit against the city related to the condition of the highway must prove one of two things:

  • The city received actual or constructive notice of the pothole and failed to respond in a reasonable amount of time or responded negligently
  • The city, in a general sense, maintains its roads with negligence

Once a driver files a complaint, the city will investigate the claim and either approve or deny it. There is a formal appeal process, according to the city attorney’s office.

If a claim has been approved, you will be required to sign an authorization and complete a W-9 form before you will be reimbursed. A complete checklist of items to include in a complaint, as well as the complaint form, is available here.

When ODOT pays

If your car is damaged by a pothole outside of Columbus, or any other municipality, the Ohio Department of Transportation may be on the hook.

According to ODOT, the state is responsible for damage caused by road conditions on all interstate, US and state routes outside of municipalities. ODOT recommends checking your map resources to determine if a pothole is within the scope of the state.

Drivers can report vehicle damage or a road defect by completing ODOT’s online form here. Once a report is filed, an ODOT representative will contact you within two business days to confirm which entity is responsible for the claim.

For more information on ODOT coverage areas and reporting procedures, visit the ODOT website.

When the turnpike pays

If a pothole or other road conditions damage your car on the Ohio Turnpike, the potentially responsible authority is the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

You can file a claim on the Ohio Turnpike website here. You can also mail complaints to Turnpike’s legal department. Visit the Ohio Turnpike website for a list of required information.

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