Was your car damaged by a pothole?  According to the City of Chicago, "If so, you may be able to receive compensation from the City of Chicago for some or all of the costs you incurred. Click on the link above to download the correct form."

In most cities/towns, if you found yourself in a situation like above, you would be required to file a case with the small claims court or similar county court system. In Chicago, however, claims such as these are reviewed and settled by the Chicago City Council passing an ordinance to award damages.

You can file a claim with the City of Chicago.  http://chicityclerk.com/wp-content/themes/occwp/pdf/programs/Vehicle-Damage-Editable.pdf


Who’s Involved


Here’s who is involved with the claim process:


The person who is seeking compensation. If you are the person who’s car struck a pothole, or who received an excessive charge on your water bill, etc., this is you. The claimant is the person who is petitioning the City of Chicago for payment.

City Clerk

The City Clerk of the City of Chicago, Susana A. Mendoza. The City Clerk’s role in this process is to:

  1. facilitate the collection, assignment and transfer of all forms and other paperwork between the claimant and all other parties (see below) and
  2. as part of her official duties, to record and make available all formal recommendations and votes on the proposed claim.

Committee on Finance

One of 17 City Council committees; this is the committee that reviews all claims and makes a recommendation as to whether to pass or not pass the claim.

City Council

Comprised of all 50 alderman and the Mayor of the City of Chicago, the City Council has the sole authority and discretion to award or not award compensation for these types of cases.

Department of Finance, City of Chicago

Responsible for facilitating the payment of all claims that were passed by the City Council.


How It Works


The Overall Claims Process



  1. Claimant (i.e. person who thinks they are owed money for damages) submits required form to the Office of the City Clerk, Susana Mendoza.
  2. The City Clerk performs a basic administrative review to ensure that the claim is complete (no missing fields or important information, etc).
  3. The City Clerk – on behalf of the claimant – submits the claim as an ordinance to the full City Council. At this point, the claim receives a claim number (i.e. CL2012-1234). This number can then be used by all parties to check the status of the submittal. Also, per City Council rules, the claim is then assigned to the Committee on Finance (Chaired by Alderman Edward Burke) of the Chicago City Council.
  4. The Committee on Finance will review the claim and make a recommendation of "pass", "do not pass", or "no recommendation" and submit the claim to the City Clerk, so that it may be voted on at the next full City Council meeting.
  5. The City Council will either pass the ordinance (i.e. award damages) or not pass the ordinance (i.e. not award damages).
  6. If the Council decision was to award damages, the City Clerk will forward this information on to the City’s Department of Finance, which will initiate the payment process.


File & Track Your Claim



Please Note:

You may contact the Committee on Finance at 312-744-8861 to follow up on the status of your claim.


How to Assemble Your Claim Packet

When you submit a claim, you are basically arguing your case, similar to how a lawyer might try a case before a judge. Therefore, it is important that you make a case that is complete by assembling the required materials ahead of time before you submit your claim.

Property Damage
  • Completed and signed Property Damage Claim Form
  • Two written estimates for the cost of repairing the damage (a copy of each is sufficient)
  • Copy of a police report for the incident that resulted in the damage
Auto Damage
(Caused by pothole, accident with a city vehicle, etc.)
  • Completed and signed Damage to Vehicle Claim Form
  • Copy of paid receipt for the repairs performed to the car OR two written estimates for the cost of repairing the damage (a copy of each is sufficient)
  • Copy of a police report for the incident that resulted in the damage
Excessive Water Bill Charge
  • Completed and signed Excessive Water Bill Claim Form
  • Copy of Paid receipt for plumbing and/or contracting services that substantiate the claim
  • Copy of bill from City of Chicago Water Department that includes the overcharge

Please note that once you submit your claim and it is introduced to City Council, no other materials can be added to your claim.

How to Submit Your Claim

Once you have assembled your claim packet (i.e. completed claim form plus all relevant materials noted above), either mail it or hand-deliver it to the Office of the City Clerk:

Office of the City Clerk
Attn: Claims
121 N. LaSalle St, Room 107
Chicago, IL 60602-1295

How to Check the Status of Your Claim


Please Note:

You may contact the Committee on Finance at 312-744-8861 to follow up on the status of your claim.


As long as your claim passes administrative review at the Office of the City Clerk (in other words, your claim form is completely filled out, has all necessary attachments, etc.), the Office of the City Clerk will introduce your claim to City Council/Committee on Finance at the soonest future City Council meeting. (City Council usually meets once a month, with the exception of August, which traditionally has been an off service month.) At that time, your claim will be assigned a claim number such as “CL2012-1234.”

You can monitor the status of this claim (i.e. passed or failed to pass, referred to committee, etc.) by searching for the claim number on the Clerk’s Legislative Information Center. Just navigate to the “Legislation” section and search by the claim number.



Please be aware that traditionally, claims can take at least several months to pass through City Council. This timeframe is driven by several factors, including the time it takes for the Committee on Finance to conduct an investigation into your claim which can involve contacting various City departments to respond to your claim.