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Legal steps to take if your case is damaged by potholes

Legal steps to take if your case is damaged by potholes

January 7, 2015

Hawaii’s streets, roads and highways are maintained by various governmental agencies. If you hit a pothole on a poorly maintained road, it can cause a tire blowout, rim damage, suspension damage or worse in cases of an injury accident. You have a right to file a claim with the appropriate governmental agency if your vehicle is damaged by hitting a pothole.

The problem is the process of getting fair compensation on your own is difficult, and involves submitting a claim form to the appropriate government agency along with documentation. It can take many months to get the money you need to pay for your vehicle damage and other losses. While you wait for the agency to process your claim, there can be financial issues that you face, including paying for the repairs to your vehicle and renting a vehicle or other transportation costs. Read how to proceed with your vehicle damage claim, and how to protect your right to compensation.

1. Take pictures the pothole you hit, and note the exact location and the direction you were traveling.

2. Estimate the size and depth of the pothole and write in down.

3. Take pictures of your vehicle and the damage it sustained when hitting the pothole.


4. Take pictures of the surrounding areas to better identify the location of the pothole.

5. Take pictures of the accident scene if hitting the pothole resulted in a collision.

6. Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to what occurred.

7. Get in touch with a lawyer to help you process your claim with the government agency that has responsibility for the road maintenance at the location of the incident.

You will be required to submit two repair estimates signed by reliable and independent parties as well as receipts for any repair bills you paid, and copies of your current vehicle registration papers and no-fault insurance card. If you had property destroyed in the

accident, you are required to submit a list of every item lost, with the original cost of the item, when purchased, where purchased, and value of the item before and after the accident. Simply put, the government does not make it easy to recover compensation after a car accident caused by a pothole.

  • To file a claim with the city or county of Honolulu, call 808-768-5193 and the city will send you a form. No form is available online.
  • To file a claim with the state of Hawaii, click on this onlineClaim for Damage form. Submit the form to the State of Hawaii, Department of Accounting and General Services, Risk Management. You have two years from the time of the accident to finalize your claim. If you are not satisfied with the decision in
  • your case, the statute of limitations in Hawaii allows for two years from the time of the accident in which to file suit.


When a pothole accident causes a serious injury or the death of a loved one, all medical information must be submitted. Gaining access to medical information will involve securing the correct authorization to release medical records, doctor reports, hospital or clinic reports, copies of medical bills. You will also have to submit a

full verification of all other expenses that were incurred as a result of the accident. All the information you submit must be accurate, or there is a real risk of being accused of filing a fraudulent claim.

In order to get your claim paid, there is other information that must be collected, including data regarding the most recent survey of the area and whether the agency was aware that the road or street was in a dangerous condition. All of this information can be accessed with the help of a law firm familiar with car accident claims.


This is a list of some of the most dangerous roads in Oahu, and there are many more streets and roads with serious maintenance issues. There are 669 streets and roads on Oahu currently listed as in serious or failed condition.

Source: Star Advertiser


It’s a good idea to have a Hawaii auto accident lawyer review your accident and determine whether it’s in your best interest for you to have legal representation as you pursue a claim. A lawyer can ensure that all damages in your case are listed with the correct value, and that you have submitted the required supporting documentation. In some cases, a claim can be filed with both the city and state, depending upon the actual location of the pothole.

The attorneys at Leavitt, Yamane & Soldner can help make sure that you present a claim for the full value of your damage if your vehicle has been damaged by a pothole.

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