Government pays out $37,000 in pothole claims but Taylah’s fight goes on

Ian Bushnell 24 August 2021 73

Taylah Kolaric’s FG Falcon was damaged by cold mix: “I’d barely had it for four months.” Photos: Supplied.

Nearly 40 Canberrans received payouts last year for damage to their cars from potholes, but Higgins woman Taylah Kolaric wasn’t one of them.

The car enthusiast is still battling to make a claim a year since she drove through cold mix washed out of a stretch of potholes on Belconnen Way in Hawker, peppering the paint job on her white FG Falcon.

Cold mix is asphalt is used to repair cracks and potholes during the winter season, or during rainy periods.

To add insult to injury, one of her tyres now has an egg on it after running into a pothole this month as the wet weather took its toll on ACT roads and the ACT Government struggles to keep up with repairs.

“I’d barely had it for four months,” Ms Kolaric said. “I don’t see how I’m at fault. If the road wasn’t fixed in the awful way it was, my car wouldn’t have the damage it had.

“My new $20,000 car just got smashed by sh-tty road work. Not real happy about it.”

The ACT Government does not automatically accept liability for these sorts of incidents, but social media commentary on the pothole crisis abounds with posts about successful claims.

A government spokesperson said that there had been 61 claims from drivers for damage to their vehicles from potholes in the last two financial years, and it had paid out $37,320.

Thirty-nine claims had been settled in the complainants’ favour, 12 were still being assessed. Ten were unsuccessful.

“Each claim is rigorously assessed in accordance with the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 and referred to the Territory’s insurer and the ACT Government Solicitor, when required, to determine if the reimbursement of substantiated expenses is justified,” the spokesperson said.

Actually being able to a make claim appears to be the first hurdle, though.

Taylah Kolaric's damaged tyre

The egg on one of Taylah Kolaric’s tyres.

Ms Kolaric said she first raised the issue with Access Canberra in August last year, providing before and after photos of her car.

“I even went as far as showing the weather reports showing extremely heavy rainfall for that part of the month,” she said.

An emailed response acknowledged that the cold mix method was prone to wash out when it rained but that it was still her responsibility.

She was also told to make a claim on the Fix My Street site, but she only received an email saying the road had now been repaired.

It then took her three or four tries to actually talk to someone while another email was ignored for three months.

It was like headbutting a wall, Ms Kolaric said.

“The original quote was between $600 and $800, and I’m not even asking for the full amount,” she said.

“I’m only asking for half that, $300 or $400, and they won’t even pay that. The amount of time I’ve wasted.”

Ms Kolaric has also written to Roads Minister Chris Steel but seems resigned to paying for the repairs, booking the car in for November.

While the government says the driver’s insurance policy generally covers motor vehicle accidents, Ms Kolaric, like many, does not want to lose her no-claim bonus and the excess would be more or less the cost of repairs.

She owns three cars, paying about $3000 in registration a year.

“We pay all that rego, three grand a year for me to have my cars damaged is absolutely heartbreaking,” Ms Kolaric said.

In the last financial year, pothole repairs almost tripled from 2,719 in a much drier 2019-20 to 6,375.

In June alone, more than 500 potholes were fixed.

The government is spending an extra $6 million so additional crews can respond to community requests for pothole repairs and grass mowing, and may have to allocate more in the coming Budget to cope with the forecast of more above average rainfall.

To report a pothole, visit the Fix My Street portal.

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73 Responses to Government pays out $37,000 in pothole claims but Taylah’s fight goes on
David Palmer David Palmer 9:38 am 27 Aug 21

I remember on that wonderful ABC TV show " The new inventors", a brilliant invention where a long haul truck was fitted with GPS to record the potholes and damage that made for much more efficient road repairs. Now that's a good way to spend the $

    Troy Summerfield Troy Summerfield 2:05 pm 27 Aug 21

    David Palmer I’ve seen cars slowly driving around Canberra before with this exact technology on it

Azzaria Castro Azzaria Castro 6:34 am 27 Aug 21

Taylah Kolaric yew yew yew 😂😂 you go girl

Raymond Horne Raymond Horne 4:48 pm 26 Aug 21

Go for it I say. Lucky you don’t live in Adelaide, they often resurface the roads, but don’t modify the height of anything in the road (such as manhole covers). Don’t learn to drive around those bad boys and you’re just asking for trouble. Oh ! And when they widen the roads they often don’t move the Stobey (Google it) poles 😆…

Compared to Adelaide, Canberra roads are pretty schmick

Mike Lee Mike Lee 12:58 pm 26 Aug 21

should make a claim from stone chip damage cause by government being cheap building gravelly unsealed roads.

Ken Brutchmore Ken Brutchmore 4:27 pm 25 Aug 21

Athllon drive

Nudist Nudist 3:37 pm 25 Aug 21

I have used fix my street to report somewhere close to 100 potholes over the last five years. Generally I found that the local government has repaired them within within a week. I’ve also reported a number of damaged road signs and probably 90% of those have been repaired promptly though I’ve noticed a few that I’ve reported haven’t been touched even four months later. It’s amazing to think that people can’t manage to navigate around street signs in some cases they drove straight over the top of them.. they also don’t have too much in the way of pride in their big parents of their car or four-wheel-drive

Jaide Copier Jaide Copier 1:43 pm 25 Aug 21

Denvour Kiel that’s us haha cya wheel alignment

Melinda Bower Melinda Bower 1:43 pm 25 Aug 21

My son was successful, although similarly when I reported the pothole and requested reimbursement for 2 tyres he had to replace, they ignored that part of the feedback.

Many phone calls (with proof of the pot hole which they fixed that day!) and several months later they did refund the cost of 2 tyres and a wheel balance.

Claudia Maruca Claudia Maruca 1:37 pm 25 Aug 21

Alf Maruca how I feel driving on horsepark towards gundaroo drive the day after it rains. Can count about 8 pothole in that 1km strip of road

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 1:12 pm 25 Aug 21

If cold mix is a temporary fix in wet weather, it would be interesting to know if they come back later and fix it properly. I have seen repairs done without using a compacting machine. These don’t last long.

    JC JC 6:46 am 27 Aug 21

    In reality if there is a pot hole then to fix it properly you need to treat the underlying cause. Which is a cracked road surface. Those cracks will extend beyond the hole that opened up too. So no when they fill them then don’t fix them properly. That gets done the next road reselling season. Where they will cut a bigger square out.

Peter Palmer Peter Palmer 12:29 pm 25 Aug 21

Drive to the road conditions, slow down for potholes.

Peter Bucke Peter Bucke 11:53 am 25 Aug 21

Can we also claim compensation for punctures from nails and screws littered around streets from knock down rebuilds ?

Mikaila Jakaya Tilly Toby Mikaila Jakaya Tilly Toby 11:29 am 25 Aug 21

Josh Fozgt she had a bubble in the tire 😂

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 10:53 am 25 Aug 21

They could have spent the money putting down proper bitumen instead of the gravel drop and stick method in the first place.

William Coats William Coats 10:39 am 25 Aug 21

So many more could have made claims if they only knew.

Jarrod Dale Jarrod Dale 10:34 am 25 Aug 21

I hit a pebble on eastern valley way and literally blew a head gasket and hit my pinky finger on the steering wheel causing brusing, see you in court.

Callum Tracey Callum Tracey 10:30 am 25 Aug 21

It's not always people's choice, a lot of modern cars now come standard with these wafer thin tyres. From Audis to Mazdas.

Luke Samuel-Felvus Luke Samuel-Felvus 10:19 am 25 Aug 21

Consider yourself lucky, i bent a rim beyond repair and i got ignored, didnt even get a response on the fix my street website.

liberalsocialist liberalsocialist 10:12 am 25 Aug 21

My DPF fell off when I went over a Canberra pothole

Kerry Kievit Kerry Kievit 9:54 am 25 Aug 21

Neither was I.

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