CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A car navigated near a pothole and other uneven patches of road yesterday near Kahaloa and Woodlawn drives in Manoa.
Isle motorists recoup the price of potholes
The state and city governments pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to people who claim that their vehicles were damaged by bad roads.
For the past two years, the city has paid $84,451 to motorists because of damage to their vehicles from potholes. From January 2006 to last December, the city paid about half of the 521 claims filed. Many of the claims, according to city Deputy Corporation Counsel Donna Woo, are for state roads and are then forwarded to the state to handle.
The city has three investigators to inspect the damage from pothole claims, which usually takes about six to eight weeks before they make a decision.
According to the city Department of Corporation Counsel, the number of claims has remained relatively constant during the past years. However, because of a policy change, the city has reduced its payment to motorists.
As a general rule, the city no longer pays for vehicles that have custom installations, such as customized rims or body kits, because they make the vehicle more susceptible to damage.
The state, meanwhile, has paid $95,281 to repair vehicles damaged by potholes on state roads, according to the Accounting and General Services Department's annual report of claims paid in the last fiscal year.
The pothole payments represent one-third of the $286,458 paid last year for all claims.