Property Damage Claims
Submitting a Damage Claim to the Kansas Department of Transportation
The State of Kansas has a state highway system that is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. However, even the best roadways are susceptible to damage or other defects that may impede safe travel by motorists. Highway systems endure continuous use by motorists, including heavy equipment like trucks. This creates occasions, especially during and after the winter months, when defects in the system occur without our knowledge. KDOT is responsible for maintaining thousands of lane miles of pavement every year, and maintaining a safe roadway for all travelers is a top priority. We do our best to be vigilant about highway conditions and fix defects in the roads as soon as we become aware of a problem.
This page is designed to be a helpful starting point if your vehicle has sustained damage due to some defect during travel on a Kansas highway. Here you will find information about the law applicable to the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and its liability for damage suffered during travel on state roadways, along with instructions on how to file a claim with the KDOT Office of Chief Counsel.
When KDOT Will Pay Claims
Generally, for KDOT to be liable for a damage claim, it is necessary to show that KDOT was negligent in maintaining the roadway, or that the damage suffered was the result of direct action or inaction by a KDOT employee. For example:
- A rock thrown by a weed trimmer operated by a KDOT crew that breaks the window of a passing vehicle is an example of damage caused directly by a KDOT employee and will likely be eligible for reimbursement.
- A flat tire or other damage caused by an unpatched pothole is not eligible for reimbursement, unless KDOT had prior knowledge of the pothole and failed to make a timely repair.
Executive agencies in Kansas and their liability for damage claims are governed by the Kansas Tort Claims Act (KTCA). The KTCA creates liability if an agency acts negligently in carrying out its duties. This means that once KDOT is notified of a pothole, or any other road defect that requires repair, KDOT is expected to undertake the necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time.
In order to prevent damage to vehicles on state roadways, KDOT regularly inspects roadway conditions. However, it is not uncommon that KDOT first learns of a pothole or other defect needing a repair when KDOT is notified that a vehicle suffered damage. In these cases, KDOT is not required to reimburse the owner of a vehicle for such damage, because KDOT was not aware of the defect causing the damage. KDOT is not responsible for failing to make a repair that was unknown to our staff.
Not All Claims Are Reimbursed
It is important to keep in mind that KDOT does not reimburse every damage claim that is submitted. Here are a couple of things to consider before filing a claim for damages:
- Was the highway where the damage occurred maintained by KDOT or by a local municipality?
- Is the owner of the vehicle filing the damage claim?
In order for KDOT to pay a damage claim, it is first necessary for the damage to occur on a road that is part of the state highway system and maintained by KDOT. Second, we are only able to pay damages to the titled owner of a vehicle, which requires verification. If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you are not eligible to be reimbursed by KDOT for the damage.
In the event that a vehicle you own has sustained damage on a highway maintained by KDOT and you believe that the damage occurred because of our negligence or is the direct result of a KDOT employee's action, please submit a property damage claim form. We will investigate your claim.
In addition, you should be aware that state law prohibits KDOT from making any reimbursement for subrogated claims or any claims already paid for by an insurance company. For more information see K.S.A. 46-922(d). [K.S.A. 46-922]
Our Process/How to Submit a Claim
KDOT property damage staff investigates every damage claim and attempts to verify if a roadway contained a defect or if any KDOT staff was working in a particular area. Our field staff keeps extensive records of work crew locations and assignments, as well as reports of roads in need of repair and when repairs were made at a particular location.
If you believe you have a reimbursable claim, please submit to KDOT the following information:
- A completed "Personal Injury or Property Damage or Loss Claim Against the State of Kansas" [FORM AR-98];
- A copy of the front and back of the Certificate of Title or current registration of the damaged vehicle;
- A written statement from you or your insurance company that the loss has not been paid by any insurance company, or if it has (in whole or in part), the amount paid and the company that paid it;
- Copies or originals of at least two (2) itemized estimates or bills stating the price to repair alleged damages;
- Photographs of the alleged damage to your vehicle;
- If this incident was reported to law enforcement, provide a copy of the law enforcement officer's report; and
- A statement indicating whether you reported the defect to KDOT and if so, the date, the number called, and the person you spoke with.
Please also include any other information you can provide which may help in conducting a complete review of this incident.
Upon receipt of the required information, your claim will be investigated. You will be notified of the Department's decision.
To file a claim, please send the above-listed information to the address below.
Kansas Department of Transportation
Office of the Chief Counsel - ESOB
700 SW Harrison Street, 3rd Floor West
Topeka, Kansas 66603-3745
Fax: (785) 296-0119
Phone: (785) 296-3446