Local Legal News 

Omaha Halts Acceptance of Pothole Claims

   The City of Omaha has returned to its long-standing damage claims policy for vehicle damaged caused by potholes. 

In mid-March, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert authorized the payment of claims for vehicle damage caused by potholes, provided claims met specific criteria. That temporary exception has ended. 

Historically, the City of Omaha has not paid claims for vehicle damage, as allowed by the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, according to a city news release. 

   “Typically during and after the winter months, potholes are repaired quickly. However, we did not have a typical winter,” Stothert said in the release. “I understand the hardship many people faced with unexpected vehicle repairs. We made a good-faith decision to help citizens pay for damages and I believe we have achieved our goal.” 

   Since Jan. 1, the city has received 2,393 claims. As of May 24, more than half have been reviewed and assigned claim numbers, 104 offers of payment have been made for a total of $31,650.33 and $21,620.91 has been paid. The remaining claims are being processed. 

   The city has denied 156 claims, for reasons including the pothole was not within the Omaha city limits, was located in a private parking lot, or on the Interstate. Claims have also been denied if the pothole had not been reported to the city previously or if the person filing the claim was not the owner of the vehicle. 

   “Every claim is thoroughly reviewed. We are spending taxpayer dollars, and we must be sure we are paying for damage that can be directly attributed to pothole damage,” Stothert said. 

   Claims will be paid from the city’s contingency fund. 

   Claims dated after June 1 will be reviewed by the Law Department under existing city policy, which follows the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, enacted in 1969. The act allows cities a reasonable amount of time after receiving notice about a pothole to make repairs prior to incurring potential liability.

 – City of Omaha

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