How to File a Pothole Damage Claim in Rhode Island


According to


, motorists are putting out $3 billion per year in car repairs due to potholes. Potholes are a common winter annoyance in Rhode Island and New England. Worsened by harsh wintry conditions and substandard road quality, potholes cause billions in vehicle damage and a large portion of highway deaths each year.

What causes potholes?

Formed by the freeze and thaw cycle of water, excessive heat, wear and tear on roads, and time in general, certain areas are more prone to


. Areas with poor drainage and high traffic areas, like major highways, are more susceptible as well as roads and highways that are poorly maintained due to budget constraints. 27% of major urban roads are deemed substandard. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New England are of course predisposed to potholes due to our extreme cold and hot weather conditions.

Tips to avoid potholes

  • Drive slow, especially during the winter and early spring months when potholes are more prevalent.
  • Steer clear of potholes or puddles when possible (puddles sometimes mask a pothole).
  • Monitor your tire pressure.
  • Inspect your vehicle regularly for any physical damage. Hitting potholes can cause serious vehicle damage including tire, rim, shocks, struts, suspension, steering, exhaust, and engine damage.

What to do when you hit a pothole

So your car hit a pothole. Where you file a claim for vehicle damage depends on if the damage occurred on a city or town road versus a state road or highway. Laws from state to state can be confusing. We will focus on how to file a pothole claim in

Rhode Island


  • Up to $300 reimbursement per

    Rhode Island’s Pothole Law


  • Claim must be filed within 7 calendar days of striking the pothole. Up to 60 days after incident to provide supporting documentation.
    • Supporting documentation:
      • Copy of valid Rhode Island vehicle registration
      • Copies of itemized and paid repair receipts including odometer reading
      • Police report OR tow truck report OR auto club report
  • Claims will be considered only for vehicles registered in Rhode Island. If the vehicle is not registered in Rhode Island, a claim can be filed in the registered vehicle’s state, ONLY if the state has a reciprocal pothole law.

Personal Injury Lawsuits due to potholes

Consider that ½ of the nation’s K-12 students ride on a bus to and from school 180 days a year and 50K ambulances make 60 million trips on roads and highways each year. Of approximately 33,000 traffic fatalities each year, 1/3 involve poor conditions. Considering this, potholes are no laughing matter. In addition to vehicle damage, personal injuries from potholes can result as well.

Personal injury lawsuits due to potholes are very expensive to public and private property owners. Therefore, it is in the best interest of states, cities, and personal property owners to upkeep their highways, roads, and properties to avoid these types of lawsuits. Potholes are risky and dangerous to



If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by a pothole in Rhode Island, you need help to sort through the claim process and get restitution for your injuries. You need a car accident lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island who knows the ins and outs of the Rhode Island state laws. Call Dave Tapalian at


for a free consultation or

contact Tapalian Law

via email.


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