When I hit a pothole driving down South 7th Street near Highway 83/84 in Abilene, I swear it rattled the fillings out of my teeth. I drive down that road so often that I've had to have both my truck and my wife's car realigned twice within 14 months.

So I got to wondering if the city is liable for the damage that is being done to my vehicles because of the lack of road upkeep. If so, they should pay for the alignment and new struts my mechanic says I need. I pay my taxes and they should maintain the roads better, right?

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Not exactly. The Texas state government is entrusted with keeping the roads safe, free of debris, fixing potholes, and making sure its safe to drive on. Yet when a city is in trouble, the one budget that often gets compromised is the Department of Transportation (DOT) budget. If your vehicle is damaged because of a pothole inside the city limits on a city road, you and I are stuck with the tab for all the damage our city's road caused.

The law in Texas explicitly states that Texas cities are not accountable for any vehicle damage resulting from street debris or potholes. The city bears no responsibility for road conditions, and it is improbable that any claims filed will be compensated.

How To Get Reimbursed for Pothole Damage

The real way to get reimbursed for your pothole damage claim is through your insurance, but there’s more to it than that. Yes, you can make a claim against the city seeking reimbursement and request a direct response from the Texas Department of Transportation(TxDOT) following their online procedure for reporting pothole damage.

But here’s what you need to know:

  • State law doesn’t require cities to pay for such damage as they are not held responsible for damage caused to your vehicle due to the condition of their roads.
  • Lawyers are expensive.

Fighting this is a viable option until it’s not and in the meantime, you’re going to rack up some impressive legal fees that will likely make the entire thing a defeated point anyways. Source: Freedom Insurance Group

The Texas Department of Transportation's website provides a formal process for reporting potholes, allowing citizens to request a direct response from TxDOT and potentially ask for reimbursement from the city for damages caused by potholes. However, the chances of receiving refunds are slim to none.

In Texas, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against a municipality or any other government entity responsible for your injuries. However, you will need a lawyer who is well-versed in the "Texas Tort Claims Act".

If the potholes caused an accident and you were injured, get ready for a lengthy and costly trial, and find an attorney who is well-versed in the Texas Tort Claims Act. Finally, try to avoid roads with potholes and remember to drive defensively.

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