I think, a topic of some general interest.
Potholes. With the winter being as ugly as it has, there will be potholes on high speed highways some so massive that they pose a hazard of lethal proportion.
With state and county budgets tight there will be potholes going unattended.
NJ has a statutory scheme that lets them deny you damages unless you can prove that (a) the state was timely apprised of the hazard (the legal doctrine is called "notice") and (b) you jump through their hurdles using their paperwork on their schedule
Solve for (a) by sending a letter - a real bona fide paper letter with a postage stamp - to the Commissioner of the DOT in your state copy the Maintenance/Engineering people too, and if it's a country road the commissioner of the country DOT or highway engineer's office too. Tell them where the pot holes are: In NJ, they usually demand to know the Highway Mile Marker, Which Lane (north south east west), Municipality, and County. It is also a very good idea to tell them how big the hole is X feet by X feet by X depth.
Send it to:
James S. Simpson, Commissioner
Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
((((His secretary will forward it to the right people.))))
The NJ DOT has recently created a web page for reporting road hazards online and you should use it AND send the paper letter.
Find it here:
Here's a page with county roadway office Phone Numbers
County Pothole Hotline, Pothole Reporting, Commuter Information
That's it. Once you tell them, then they have notice. There's no need for threats or strong language.
Send it certified if you are a little un-trusting. Then, of course, do your dammedest to avoid the bloody holes.
And then IF you DO hit a pothole and suffer damage here is a page with the info you need
Pothole Reporting, Commuter Information
Pothole Damage Claims:
To file a pothole damage claim, please contact the Department of Treasury's Office of Risk Management at 609-292-4347 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
They'll send you whatever you need.
!!!!!!~BUT YOU ONLY HAVE A BRIEF PERIOD TO DO IT~!!!!!!!
-------- It used to be shorter, but now it is 90 Days---------
These measures won't guarantee that you will get compensated, but it will ensure that any legal options (like suing) will remain open to you in case they blow you off.