It's a bountiful season for potholes this year
April 25, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Spring time and the potholes are ‘blooming’. They lurk hidden in puddles, on curbsides, in the middle of the 401, and on every street. Pot holes had a wonderful winter with the temperature fluctuations causing extensive damage to our roadways. It seems all the roads that had cracks in them are now littered in potholes. Some roads look like they are more ‘hole’ than road.
Potholes form when water gets into a crack and the freeze and thaw combined with the pressure of traffic cause the road surface to break open. Once a pothole forms it is nearly impossible to fix it without relaying the entire stretch of asphalt as there is no way of sealing the seams between new and patch materials.
Many motorists are grumbling about the rough ride on the streets. Others are filing claims with the municipality to cover damage done to rims and suspensions from the pot holes. Local municipalities are out in force patching but the weather has not been cooperative and when it’s wet out the patch material doesn’t adhere at all.The costs of repairing pothole damage to a car can range from $300-$1000 according to the CAA.
The cities, Region and MTO all take claims for damage that is caused by substandard road conditions. If your car is damaged hitting a pothole you can file a claim with your local city hall for repairs:
Spot a pothole?
Road managers urge you to report it with a street address
The MTO states:
Submit a claim if your vehicle is damaged and MTO is responsible
Please be sure to submit your claim within 10 days of the incident occurring. It is also important to note that there is a two-year limitation period to bring action (i.e. begin a legal proceeding) regarding such claims.
MTO is responsible for maintaining all roads under its jurisdiction – including major highways like the 400 series. Not all roads fall under provincial jurisdiction. City streets are generally the responsibility of the municipality in which they are located. County and regional roads are often the responsibility of the relevant county or regional government. You may want to confirm jurisdiction over the road you were travelling before submitting a claim to make sure you are dealing with the correct road authority. Simply conduct an Internet search. Submitting your claim to the correct road authority first will save you time in getting a response.
The province is responsible for maintaining its roads to a reasonable standard. Submitting a claim for damage does not imply that you will necessarily receive compensation. Your claim will be thoroughly reviewed and a response will be provided. The review typically takes several weeks to complete. In the meantime, common law requires you to mitigate your damages. You may wish to report your claim to your insurer who may have a contractual obligation to you to repair your damage right away. Your insurer can then seek reimbursement from the Ministry on your behalf.
Your insurer may be obligated to pay the full replacement cost of your damaged vehicle. Your claim against MTO is not based on a contract but on common law principles.
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.