Published on 02.23.20
Pothole Damage | Auto Insurance in Ontario
Have you ever been driving down a road in Ontario when your car suddenly drops into a pothole like a roller coaster? It’s an uneasy feeling for any driver and an even worse feeling if you realize your car got damaged in the process. Your instinct may be that it’s the city’s fault. You may think, “It’s their fault that they didn’t fill the pothole; they should be held liable.” However, you and your auto insurance in Ontario may come to find the difficulties of doing this:
Your client’s vehicle is damaged by a massive pothole. Is it covered and is the city liable?
A vehicle owner or insurer could then go to the city to collect, but they would have to prove their case, Karageorgos said.
The city can be held liable, but it’s very difficult to be successful in a claim against a city for damage caused by a pothole, said Edward Masters, a personal injury lawyer with Mann Lawyers LLP in Ottawa. “I would not expect an insurance company to make a claim against the city because of how hard it is to recover.”
“Even if a pothole is too big or deep, the municipality still has a certain time period within which it has to be repaired,” Masters noted. “But there is a further catch: the time limit for repairing a particular pothole only starts to run once the city has been put on notice of its existence. So, if nobody reports a pothole, the time limit for getting it fixed never starts to run.”
The size of what amounts to an unacceptably large pothole depends on the character of the street it inhabits, its speed limit and average daily traffic, Masters said. The type of road surface and the pothole’s location – on either the travelled portion of the road or the shoulder of the road – also determine how large a pothole has to be before it needs to be repaired and how long the municipality has to repair it (a paved surface is required to tolerate smaller potholes for a shorter period of time than an unpaved surface or a shoulder).
“The Municipal Act prescribes the size and age a pothole must be before the city can be held liable for the damage it causes to a motor vehicle. This explains why almost all claims made against municipalities for damage caused by potholes are unsuccessful.”
See more auto insurance tips for Ontario drivers.
Although it is difficult to circumnavigate these rules, there have been success stories of drivers being able to receive compensation. Auto insurance in Ontario can seem like a headache with its specific rules and high rates. At Foxquilt, our expert brokers will guide you through getting the right coverage for your auto insurance needs. You can even bundle with your home or business insurance for a discount on your auto insurance.