Local News

Durham Woman Gets Contractor To Pay For Pothole Damage

Posted April 4, 2003 3:44 a.m. EST

— The winter weather caused potholes everywhere in the Triangle. Now the state Department of Transportation is making a rare move to help a woman whose car was damaged.

Two weeks ago, Marisa Rabineau was driving her Corvette down the road when she hit a pothole. As a result, her car had a bent rim, was knocked out of alignment and she faced a big repair bill.

"It was horrible. You could hear the suspension just smack. The main sound I heard was my husband screaming when I hit it," she said.

Rabineau said she remembered a prior WRAL story that states that the DOT could be liable for damage caused by potholes.

"I contacted the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It went down the line and I got to Bill McGowan at Granite Construction company and he put through the right channels and I ended up with their insurance company, which compensated me," she said.

Rabineau later received a bill for $836.09 to cover the costs of the damage to her car. She said her story came out better than she ever expected.

"Just go through the right channels. I wasn't out for anything other than what it had cost me to get fixed and they did it," she said.

To file a claim, officials say you must report the pothole to the DOT. The DOT and the contractors have a reasonable amount of time to repair the problem. In Rabineau's case, she reported the pothole three days before the incident.

To report a pothole or to make a claim on a pothole you have already reported, you should call


. The DOT says it is still processing hundreds of pothole claims. They also said they could not give a figure for how much they pay out each year in pothole claims.