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Claims for Damage Caused by a Roadway Defect

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The reality is that travel on our roads is always a risk; potholes, bumps, ruts, car parts, debris, etc. are all things that even the most cautious driver cannot always avoid. Despite the Highway Division’s efforts to take care of these issues, there is simply no way to discover, clean up or repair everything as quickly as all of us would like. The result can sometimes be a flat tire or other damage to your vehicle that needs to be repaired.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 81, Section 18, is the statute that controls both what our courts have deemed “defects” in the road, and the rules the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation (MassDOT) must follow when we receive notice from you. (Our courts have defined the word defect as "anything in the state or condition of the way that renders it unsafe or inconvenient for ordinary travel".)

In addition, both this statute and the case law state that there can be no recovery for property damage, only personal injury (limited to $4,000.00), in actions against the Commonwealth due to road defects. (If the area was in an active construction zone, your claim will be forwarded to the contractor of record.)

With that in mind, if you do wish to make a claim, please note that there are strict procedures to follow; your notice MUST be:

  1. In writing (any form of written communication, except email), showing
    • You were injured on a state highway due to a defect
    • Your name and address
    • The time, location and cause of the injury
  2. Given to us, in most cases, within thirty (30) days of the incident
  3. Signed by you, or by someone on your behalf

The notice should be sent to MassDOT

10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
ATTN.: Claims Department- Room 3510

In most cases, we will provide you with our determination letter within thirty days.

If you wish to simply report a pothole, please call MassDOT’s Pothole Hotline at 857-DOT-INFO (857-368-4636) or contact us by email.

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