It is common practice to file a claim with the local city, town or county instead of suing someone in court when a car sustains damages from driving over potholes. About.com recommends researching information about the road commission that handles streets in the area of the pothole. Drivers can then seek reimbursement from the municipality.
About.com recommends that car owners take photographs of the damage. In addition, it recommends keeping a record detailing when the accident happened and getting two estimates from car repair shops. About.com further notes that a state may require the driver to prove that the municipality knew about the pothole before the accident happened and did not take steps to repair it.
Time magazine reports that car owners who file claims should expect resistance when seeking monetary damages for pothole claims. According to Time, cities have a reputation for rejecting a majority of these claims. For example, a local TV station in Colorado Springs reported that the city rejected 98 percent of pothole claims. When claims are paid, the damage is usually very serious.
About.com relates that pothole claims can be filed with an insurance company. Insurers treat these "at-fault" claims similar to collisions, and it may or may not be financially worthwhile to file with an insurer.