CFA Investigation: Pothole Payout Part II

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Your stories keep pouring into our newsroom: Drivers hit potholes and their cars get damaged.

We talked to the city of Colorado Springs about it last week. You may remember, we told you the city has not paid out any claims in nearly two years.

Now we sit down with a lawyer to find out if that's fair or not. In this 11 Call for Action investigation, 11 News reporter Katie Pelton finds the answer.

City streets are riddled with potholes in Colorado Springs.

"It's extremely frustrating," said Stefanie Hartsough.

After our story aired last week, several people reached out with their own horror stories.

"I was going about my normal commute in the morning, dropping off my daughter at school and heading to work. ... We got on Austin Bluffs headed westbound, went across the Union bridge...I was in the left lane and all of a sudden, 'boom,'" said Sam Edwards. "It went off like a shot."

Edwards hit a pothole.

"My daughter was screaming, her friend was screaming," Edwards added.

“I was traveling eastbound on Stetson Hills, it was just before Peterson," said Hartsough. "I was in the far right lane and there was a lot of snow melt so the pavement was a little darker. I didn't even see it, but it was a huge pothole. It actually blew my passenger tire."

"I was driving down southbound Academy. I was in the far left lane and I hit a pothole between Fountain and Chelton," said Christina Bik. "It was huge. My rim was all bent and my tire was just blown."

It's not cheap.

"For the rim and tire, the total was $85," said Bik.

"It was about $110," said Hartsough.

"With the alignment and the tires it was $749," said Edwards.

Like we told you last week, the chance of getting a claim paid out is very, very slim.

"Right now, we handled from February of last year to February 10th of this year. We've had 545 claims," said David Miller, risk management supervisor for Colorado Springs.

Katie Pelton: "And how many of those have you paid out?"
Miller: "We've paid zero."

In fact, the last time the city paid out a claim for a pothole was nearly two years ago, in June 2014. A woman was driving on Academy near Galley when she hit a pothole. The city says they paid her $115 for a damaged rim. The city paid her about a month after she filed the claim.

Now, you may be wondering: why did the city pay out that claim and not all the others? The city tells us they were outside the reasonable amount of time frame to fix a pothole based on resources and weather.

The city cites the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act.

Pelton: "Do you think that's fair, that these 545 people, none of them have gotten paid?"
Miller: "I just go off of what the CGIA says, so we have had notice and we have a reasonable amount of time to fix it.”

So we turned to a lawyer to find out more about the CGIA.

"The idea comes from old English law," said David Webster, managing partner of the Law Firm of Jaray & Webster. "The original idea was that a subject could not sue the king.

"So in essence, what it means is that governments enjoy immunity from civil law suits from citizens," Webster added.

The CGIA basically says the government isn't at fault except under certain circumstances.

"One of those circumstances is if there's a dangerous condition in the roadway," said Webster. "But the catch is, it has to be a dangerous condition which impedes traffic. So if a dangerous condition is not impeding traffic then governmental immunity is not waived for those particular purposes.”

They also have to have plenty of notice about the pothole.

The city says they will pay for damage if: "We...have knowledge of a dangerous road condition, i.e. a pothole, and we have to have a reasonable amount of time to fix that," said Miller. "That reasonable amount of time could vary due to weather, resources, manpower on fixing a pothole."

"There's several that look like they could probably kill my car," said Hartsough.

"It's almost like you're a drunk driver because you're trying to avoid all these potholes," Bik added.

If you want to report a pothole to the city of Colorado Springs, call 719-385-ROAD or report it online using the link on this page.

Be sure to check out the new section on our website dedicated to the pothole problem in our city. It's called "Policing Potholes." There's an interactive map with information about potholes reported to our newsroom. Just click the link on this page.

If your car was damaged because of a pothole or if you want to report a pothole for our interactive map, send us an email at or send us a Facebook message. You can also email Katie Pelton at