Potholes are a fact of life in Central New York, but did you know New York State might be responsible for paying for repairs to your vehicle for damage from those potholes?

Of course, there are a few caveats to this - we are talking about New York State, here.

First of all, the state won't pay if you hit one of those potholes during "pothole season". What season? According to News10, 'pothole season' is the time during which New York Highway Law explicitly exempts the state from liability from damages caused on state roads - it runs from November 15th and May 1st. (If you live in Utica, pothole season is year-round, amirite?)

Secondly, you have to prove the state or municipality knew about the pothole, and still didn't repair it.

So let's say you hit a pothole...now what? LoHud.com put together a great list of recommendations:

Who's responsible?

  • Identify whether the road is owned by a local municipality, the county or state. Contact a local official for help.
  • Call that government's clerk or highway department to find out how to submit a claim.
  • Ask whether a written complaint of a pothole at that location was filed and when.
  • If you can safely do so, take photos and record details of the pothole's location.
  • File a police report to document the incident.
  • Get at least two repair estimates from qualified mechanics.

Was the pothole on a state road?

State DOT
Form: dot.ny.gov/divisions/legal-services-division/smallclaims
Questions: 845-431-5921.

Form: thruway.ny.gov/about/contact/damage-claim.html
Thruway form can be emailed to claimsunit@thruway.ny.gov or faxed to 518-471-4340.

Hey Utica, there's a huge pothole in front of the sewer grate right by Calvary Cemetery. I know because it almost ate my leg earlier this week. Does this count as notification? 


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