(WAVY) — “But this is something that affects citizens every day in every part of Hampton Roads who we haven’t hit a pothole,” said Mike Holtzclaw with the City of Hampton.

He gets it – potholes are a pricey pain. When a city pothole damages your car, who’s responsible for paying to fix it up? Well, it’s a bit of a longer answer.

Most cities in Hampton Roads handle pothole damages in a similar fashion. First, they ask you to file a claim with the cities risk management group. From there, they’ll work to figure out if you have a valid claim.

Experts say you’re more likely to have that claim approved if the pothole was previously reported and the city didn’t repair it in a timely fashion.

Depending on what city the damages happened in, that could be the case.

10 On Your Side learned the average response time for a pothole repair is about four days. Chesapeake takes the longest at 14 days, but the City of Suffolk says their repairs only take about 2 days.

Depending on the day, Hampton’s is almost instant.

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CITYAVERAGE RESPONSE TIME (IN DAYS)
CHESAPEAKE14 DAYS
VIRGINIA BEACH4 DAYS
NEWPORT NEWS2 DAYS
SUFFOLK1.5 DAYS
NORFOLK2 DAYS
PORTSMOUTH2 DAYS

“The public works department has a crew that goes out every day they drive routes. In addition to the route that they’re working, they might fill two or three potholes that were requested by citizens,” Holtzclaw explains.

In the end, it saves the city more money. Less potholes, less claims from frustrated drivers. If you do hit a pothole, Holtzclaw says it’s important that you call the city’s 3-1-1 line for any kind of damage done to your vehicle by a city road. He adds that it’s a great resource for anything city related and call takers can point you in the right direction.

As far as getting that frustrated drivers claim approved, the key is to prove negligence on the city’s part. That would explain why some city’s like Suffolk drop more than $1 million dollars a year on road repairs.

To avoid the headache altogether, AAA says to report the pothole you see on your commute before it damages your vehicle or another driver’s. Additionally, they recommend looking ahead on your commute, driving the speed limit to limit damage and keeping plenty of air in your tires.

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