Tis the season for dodging potholes, fa-la-la-la la-la-la! Hey, potholes happen, it's a fact of life here in Minnesota. They often start off small, and they seemingly grow by the hour with each car, truck, or semi clunking into the open crack in the pavement. But did you know that if your vehicle suffers damage from a pothole on a state highway or on some city streets you can file a claim and possibly recoup some money for damages caused to your vehicle?

Harsh Winter Creates High Number Of Potholes On New York City's Roads
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According to MnDOT Minnesota motorists who feel a pothole caused damage to their vehicle, and I would think this would be obvious, can file a claim against the state in an effort to recoup money to offset repair costs towards the vehicle. But there are some very specific steps you have to take while making your claim. On top of those specific steps, you only have 180 days to get your claim into the state for 'possible reimbursement'.

From MnDOT here are the three steps you should take if you are going to file a claim:

  1. Verify that Your Damage Occurred on a State Highway or in MnDOT’s Right-of-Way
  2. Complete and Submit the Tort Claim Form and Supporting Materials
  3. MnDOT Investigates and Responds to Your Claim

For anything state highway related to pothole damage and filing a claim, you can head here, for more specific instructions and forms to assist you in filing your claim.


Locally, if you damaged your car on a pothole on a city or county road, you have to start at that level. If you are unsure about who maintains the road you hit the pothole on, you should call the city and ask who maintains road X.

Faribault has a link on their website related to making a report about a pothole, but no link on making a claim.

In Owatonna reporting a pothole is a phone call away according to the city website. To report potholes, please call the Public Works Department at 507-444-4350.

Nowhere on the county websites of Rice or Steele could I find a pothole report form or number, your best bet would be to call the county transportation department and ask about filing a claim for damage and or reporting a pothole.

In the end, it's all about documenting any and all damage to your vehicle and proving that the state, city, or county was intentionally negligent in repairing the pothole.

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You hop in your car and are ready to go but then panic sets in because _______.  

There are so many answers that can go in that blank. In fact, you may have had one of those stresses just a little bit ago in your car. Look below to see some of the top things that stress people out while they are driving in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

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