A KPCC-NBC4 joint investigation has spurred the city of Los Angeles to improve how it handles claims for damages caused by potholes, and that has led to the city paying out more than six times as many claims as it had prior to the initial report, according to statistics compiled by NBC4.
Last October's KPCC-NBC4 report found that the city was approving only about one out of every ten claims. A cumbersome review process meant many seemingly valid claims were rejected, or expired by law after two years.
City Attorney Mike Feuer told NBC4 that he made a simple change in response to the October story. Previously, when his office received a claim seeking compensation, city attorney staff used regular mail to ask the Bureau of Street Services to confirm whether a particular pothole existed. Now the Bureau e-mails an updated list of all potholes in L.A. to the city attorney’s office very two weeks.
RELATED: How you can file a pothole claim
This allows his staff to process claims in minutes, rather than months, Feuer said.
"This is not a heroic step that we’re taking to change this system," Feuer told NBC4. "This is what our residents deserve." When asked if he can now assure the people of L.A. that the city will pay every valid pothole claim in a timely way, Feuer answered, "yes."
In the four months leading up to last October's KPCC-NBC4 report, the city paid out 25 pothole claims. In the four months after the report, the number jumped to 153.