What happens if you hit a pothole, damaging your vehicle on a county road?

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Pioneer Road is a busy side street just off of Silver Star Road, but a pothole has been causing nearby residents a lot of headaches recently.

Crews have since filled the pothole, but Thirus Jones said the damage has already been done to his car, and he wants the county to pay for it.

"You just heard it. Bang!" he said after riding over the pothole.

Jones said he knew right away something was wrong.

Raw: Man says county won't pay for pothole damage to car

LINKS: Orange County Potholl Hotline | 311 App

"(I) hit 55 (mph), steering wheel just shaking. Shaking up like a milkshake," he said.

A repair shop confirmed repairs to the tire and rim would cost about $600, so Jones called Orange County's road department to report the pothole and file a claim.

"By the time I left the tire place and got back home, two guys was out there filling up the pothole," he said.

But Jones said he was shocked to find out the county would not pay for the damage. He said their excuse was that they didn’t know the pothole was there.

"I said, 'What do you mean prior knowledge of the pothole? I called and told you when I knew about it,'" Jones said.

The county's risk management director sent Channel 9 a statement explaining the courts have ruled the county can't be liable for damage caused by something it didn't know about.

He said, "Nobody had notified the county that a pothole existed prior to it being struck by a vehicle. As a result, we did not have a duty to notify users of the property of the defect and are not liable for damage."

Orange County oversees about 5,000 miles of roadway and the director said it would take a full-time staff to monitor every street for damage.  The county relies on the public to report any problems, and he said crews are out within two hours making repairs.

The bottom line is the county is not liable unless it knew about a problem and didn't fix it, a policy Jones said is unfair.

"You don't know about it until you hit it, especially because it was filled with water and you think it's part of the road," said Jones.

The county said dialing 311 is the best option to report a pothole or other damages.