The City of Jacksonville said it is not responsible for damage caused by a six-foot pothole that trapped a Ford F-350 in January.
Neighbors in Springfield complained the hazard was nearly invisible during rain and one resident filed a complaint in November asking for barriers around the hole.
Victor Letourneaut's said his truck's dive into the pothole during heavy rains caused nearly $2,300 in damages. He filed a claim with the city's risk management division explaining the lack of markings around the opening near his home.
A claims adjuster said in a February 13 letter their investigation found no negligence against the City of Jacksonville because Letourneaut knew about the pothole and the city couldn't keep barriers from falling over due to wind. The adjuster also said in the letter the city was in the process of repairing the street.
"It wasn’t being repaired. It was repaired when the news came out and highlighted that story. That’s when the workers came out," Letourneaut said.
A resident complaint filed with the city of Jacksonville on November 17, 2017 requested barricades be placed on the cave-in, but repairs didn't begin until January 10.
A city work order estimates the cost of repairs to the street at $9,000.
City records show 825 claims were filed since 2015 against the City of Jacksonville citywide for damage caused by potholes.
Jacksonville attorney Obinna Anum, who has handled personal injury cases against government entities said in Florida, even if the driver shares some negligence, if the city was also negligent, then a percentage of the bills should be paid.
"It is reasonable for the city to take a certain amount of time to fix the dangerous condition," Anum said. "But it is [also] reasonable that the city should place some type of warning sign on the dangerous condition as soon as they know about it."
Anum said without prior notice or a resident complaint, the city won't be expected to repair or mark hazards they are unaware of.
Letourneaut said he hopes more people will contact the city when they notice a problem. He plans to dispute the city's decision about his truck in small claims court.
To report street damage in Jacksonville call 904-630-CITY (2489) or visit 630-CITY online.