Fresno County drivers say pothole damage claims rejected for no reason

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Caltrans says they will reimburse a driver only if crews knew about the pothole and were unable to fix it in a reasonable amount of time, but other agencies were much more vague about their rejection policy. (KFSN)

When you ding your car on a pothole, you expect someone to take responsbility. But all over Fresno County drivers say their claims are getting brushed off.

The city and state both say they've received many more pothole complaints this year than last. But when they were asked how many claims they have approved or denied, they could not provide numbers.

Gilbert Chavez paid the price on Highway 99 when a tire-eater blew out his low-profile rim forcing him to replace all four for $1,000. He says Caltrans denied his claim.

"All the taxpayer money we're paying, and all the tax hikes, how do they not have money?" asked Chavez.

Sharon Brown was also rejected by the City of Fresno after her car hit a series of potholes on Lane near Winery.

"She said it wasn't in the budget to pay for every taxpayer or every person that complains about a pothole and gets their car messed up," said Brown.

The city would not specify how it decides to approve or deny a claim. Caltrans had a little more insight -- saying us they reimburse the driver only if crews knew about the pothole
and were unable to fix it in a reasonable amount of time.

"It varies... if you go by our maintenance code, there isn't a set standard because it's also about on what else is going on during that given time," said Cory Burkarth, Caltrans.

"Reasonable time when they want to? That's not reasonable" said Chavez.

Gilbert says the potholes on Highway 99 had been there for days before they claimed his tire.

Sharon says hers had been lurking for more than a month.

"If they received the complaints about it in December, we shoudn't have hit it in mid January."

She says the fight to get her claim approved isn't just about the money anyone, but getting officials to do what's right.
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