Nothing says welcome to the Southern Tier quite like a couple hundred dollars in car repairs, but that's exactly what happened to me after moving to town.

These days, every time I drive down Riverside Drive in Binghamton, I say a silent thank you to the powers that be for fixing the potholes and paving it because the first winter after I moved to the area was brutal. That first winter, I drove Riverside Drive every day and when I took my car for inspection in the spring, my mechanic dropped an unexpected bomb: I had extensive damage to my struts and shocks and he believed it was from constantly driving on rough, pothole-ridden roads.

Unfortunately, I'm not the only one who has had to shell out for car repairs because of bad roads. According to Your Mechanic, "American drivers pay approximately $3 billion, or an average cost of $300 each, annually to fix car damage caused by potholes." That's insane. So, what do we do about it?

Well, you'll want to buckle in because it's not going to be a simple or fast process, but if you're serious about wanting to get your money back for repairs made to your car due to potholes and other road problems, you'll need to file a small claim with the New York State Department of Transportation.

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You'll Need to Complete the Following Steps:

Step 1-

Complete the Small Claim form (DC30-2) found at the bottom of this page and make sure that you fill it out completely. If the form isn't completely filled out, it will be rejected right off the bat. 

Step 2-

Determine in which region your vehicle fell victim to awful roads. For instance, if the damage occurred in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, or Tioga counties, the office you need to deal with would be NYSDOT Claims Officer, 44 Hawley Street, 11th Floor, Room 1103, Binghamton, NY 13901. 

Step 3-

Mail the completed DC30-2 form to the office where the damage was sustained.

Step 4-

Wait patiently for department staff to conduct an investigation. This investigation generally takes between six and eight weeks.

File as Soon as the Damage Happens

If the damage happened to your car more than three months ago, you're out of luck. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, "For timely
filing, the Court of Claims Act mandates a maximum of 90 days between the date of loss and the filing of a Notice of Claim."

If the state decides that they dropped the ball on the road(s), you'll receive a check in the mail within 6-8 weeks. However, if the state believes that they're not in the wrong, you won't receive payment but you will receive a letter explaining why they didn't find in your favor.

[via Your Mechanic/New York State Department of Transportation/ NYS Small Claims]