The many potholes on state roads after the recent ice and rain means more cars with flat tires and bent rims. The Tennessee treasury department is seeing the effects as well: It's the agency responsible for paying out claims for road-related damages.
“We’re getting an overwhelming number of phone calls coming into our office," says communications director Shelli King. "This is just beyond and above what we had last year.”
The department is getting 10 to 20 claims a day, she says, bringing the total number since February to at least 300.
But not all of those claims will be paid out. The damage has to take place on an interstate or state highway — King says many claims refer to locally run roads, and the agency denies those. (Local governments have their own claims divisions.)
The state is also only responsible if it already knew about the pothole and didn't fix it within a "reasonable amount of time," King says — usually within 24 hours after the report, weather permitting. If no one had reported the pothole, the state might not have to pay out the claim.
Tennessee has paid out about 50 claims over the past five years for negligence on state-run roads, for a total of $36,000. In 2014, the state only paid out $1,690. This year will likely be higher, King says.
“I mean, it’s going to be a big year,” she says.
The treasury department assesses the requests within 90 days of receiving them. For more information on filing a claim with the state, click here.