A few weeks ago, CityCaucus.com broke the news that if your vehicle was damaged as a result of a pothole, you may be eligible for compensation from the city. It was the most well read post on our blog over the last number of weeks.
We were therefore pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a great post by Darren over at timinganddelivery.com. He thanks CityCaucus.com for spreading the word about how you can make a claim against the City, but he also provided some good insight into what happens after you get the process started.
He took our advice by filing his claim in writing directly to Mayor Gregor Robertson (email@example.com) in order to get the ball rolling. Within 24 hours, he received a response from the City's Financial Services Risk Management Group (they're the folks that you're not supposed to know about). Here's what they said to Darren:
"The news report is correct in that motorists who have experienced damage from potholes located within the City of Vancouver may write us a letter explaining the circumstances and requesting compensation. However, we advise that the City only considers compensation in cases where the City would be legally liable for the resulting damage.
What this means is that each claim we receive is investigated individually to determine whether or not the City met the requirements of its inspection and maintenance program…we have opened a file and started our investigation. Unfortunately this takes time. We appreciate that you would like to have this matter resolved as quickly as possible and we will do our best."
Wanting more information about his claim regarding the pothole damage to his vehicle, Darren decided to call the number posted on the letter. As expected, Vancouver City staff were very gracious in their response:
"Not only was she very pleasant to deal with, she was realistic in her timing estimate, understanding of my situation, and open to keeping in contact to let me know where my claim process is at...Without ever having dealt with the City in any significant way before, I had heard some fairly nasty ’service’ experiences. Depending on how the next few weeks turn out, and how I am dealt with, my experience may swim against the tide!."
One of the comments posted on his blog paints a very different picture in the City of Surrey, BC. Here is what Laila Yuile had to say:
I’ve received several emails from readers that have received a less than stellar reception from the city of Surrey - which was also featured in the CTV story. Apparently they have received so many claims that they issued a press release stating that they don’t actually don’t have money set aside for this.
It is worth noting that Surrey, like every other major city in Canada, does have money set aside for these types of claims. And CityCaucus.com is glad that we were able to educate the public on this important issue.