Divot in road causes major damage to woman’s car. She says state rejected her file for damages

ATLANTA — It’s damage done to Versie Lewis’ car she says has cost her thousands of dollars.

“Now I have a car payment, my insurance is going up,” Lewis said.

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She told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln she was traveling westbound on Interstate 285 near Old National Highway when she was forced to swerve onto the shoulder from a speeding car.

“It was still dark, like six in the morning,” she said.

She says by the time she saw the divot it was too late.

“We hit this hole, the dogs fell off the back seat, my daughter’s head hit the top of the car, we were just so shaken up,” said Lewis.

Minutes later she says her car just stopped.

“All I could do was coast over to the side of the road,” she said.

Lewis says she filed for damages totaling more than $9,000 with the State’s Department of Administrative Services. They’re tasked with approving claims from car owners whose vehicles were damaged by Georgia roads.

“After they reviewed my paperwork, everything from Geber, everything from my insurance company, they said they were not liable for it at all,” she said.

After the state’s denial, her insurance company totaled her car.

Last year, Channel 2 Action News reported in 2023 that the state paid out less than 30% of road damage claims. Out of 1,486 total closed claims, the state paid in only 378 cases.

In those complaints, drivers mentioned potholes nearly 700 times.


“The DOAS has no incentive to pay your claim. And if they deny it, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit. The state does not feel like they have any real worry that you’re going to succeed in that sort of a case,” said attorney Bruce Hagen.

In a previous report, the state told Channel 2 Action News how they process claims:

“Visit the Department of Administrative Services or the Georgia Department of Transportation to file a claim within one year from when the incident occurred. Please submit photos, the location of the incident, a police report if filed, a copy of the invoice, and any additional supporting documents. If you see a pothole or other road issue, please help us make our roads safer by calling 511 to report it.”

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