Caltrans reimbursing up to $10,000 for damage caused by freeway potholes

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STATEWIDE – Caltrans’ reimbursement program allows commuters to claim up to $10,000 for damages from potholes while driving on California freeways.

A 2021 AAA survey found that the average price tag of hitting a pothole is almost $600 per repair. This cost drivers $26.5 billion in 2021 alone.

The Caltrans reimbursement program is intended for vehicles damaged due to poor road conditions or debris. Form LD-0274 allows claimants to file for reimbursement with the Caltrans district office in the county in which the incident occurred.

Photo credit: Caltrans

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements include:

  • The damage must have occurred on a state-owned highway or freeway.
  • Drivers must submit a claim within six months of the incident.

The program does not cover damages caused by normal wear and tear.

Filing a claim

To file a claim, drivers must provide evidence of the damage, including photos, receipts for repairs, and any other relevant documentation. They must also demonstrate that the damage occurred as a direct result of the state’s negligence or failure to properly maintain the roadway. 

Claims for over $10,000

If a claim is for over $10,000 or concerns a different department or agency of the State of California, claimants must file with the Government Claims Program. This program gives drivers the opportunity to formally demand compensation for a loss, and may lead to a settlement of a claim without the need to file a lawsuit.

Claims Review

Caltrans reviews will review the claim, and if approved, they will issue a reimbursement. Caltrans may deny claims if the damage was caused by driver negligence or illegal activities.

RELATED: Caltrans mascot naming contest awarding student winner $500 and a laptop 

Caltrans encourages drivers to report road hazards and unsafe driving conditions to its Maintenance Division at https://csr.dot.ca.gov/index.php/Msrsubmit.

Reports can also be submitted online through the Caltrans QuickMap app. The app provides real-time information about highway conditions, traffic flow, and construction zones.

For more information on how to submit a damage claim with Caltrans visit https://dot.ca.gov/online-services/submit-damage-claim

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