New England drivers have become accustomed to slaloming through city streets to avoid potholes, and it turns out these road divots have been costing the city when it comes to repairing damaged cars.
According to the Boston Globe, the city has paid more than $163,000 to nearly 300 drivers whose cars were damaged by defects on Boston streets between 2013 and last year.
The drivers whose cars were damaged took advantage of a state law that requires cities and towns to reimburse drivers because of damage caused by poorly maintained streets.
The law says that drivers can get a percentage of their vehicle’s value up to $5,000 if the damage is claimed within 30 days of the incident.
From 2013 to last year the average settlement in Boston was $560. One street in Charlestown has resulted in more than $27,000 in payments. An area in the Back Bay has led to another $23,000 in payments.
So far this year twelve claims have been filed, including six claims of car damage that happened in the same spot in the Back Bay.
Because the law requires the city to pay back a percentage of the vehicle’s value, higher-priced cars are eligible for larger payouts. In some cases, the city will also reimburse the $15 filing fee.
Chris Osgood, Boston’s Chief of the Streets, Transportation, and Sanitation, told the Globe that while drivers are encouraged to file claims for damage, the reports do not drive decisions on which roads to fix first. He said the city prioritizes work based on reports to the 311 complaint system and engineering assessments.