Q: Can the county immune to liability for "weather-related" damage to their main roads?
I hit a sizable, unmarked pothole on US 31 within St. Joseph County limits that did significant damage to my car. I filed a claim and a county representative said they would not pay it because they aren't responsible for "weather-related" damage to the roads. All damage to roads have a weather component, so if what they said is true, they basically can argue that they're not responsible for ANY damage and neglect of the roads. Is that legal?
A: The person with whom you spoke was right, for the wrong reason. US 31 is an interstate highway so you would need to make a claim with the state of Indiana, NOT St. Joseph County. Before you can make a claim, you must file a Tort Claims Notice. The form number is 54668. A completed form must be filed with the State of Indiana within 180 days or 270 days from the date of the incident. FAILURE TO TIMELY FILE WILL BAR YOUR RECOVERY. Claims are paid by means of reimbursement so you need to pay the cost of repair, upfront or submit the claim to your insurance and pay your deductible.
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