Motorist Jarrett Herzberg said he was initially told he was at fault for hitting a pothole and would lose five points on his licence.

“It’s not fair at all,” said Herzberg. “I didn’t even know there was damage under the vehicle but once I got out of the vehicle, I could see there was a lot of damage,” he said.

“We’re fully aware that there’s potholes out there, but the drivers are also aware they need to take action to avoid the pothole,” said Brian Smiley from Manitoba Public Insurance.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, motorists have to drive appropriately to avoid all hazards on the road, including potholes.

In some cases, however, they can’t be avoided.

“If you’re driving beside someone and you can’t avoid hitting the pothole, well, you have no choice,” said John Vernaus from Vernaus Auto Body.

There are 500 to 600 pothole-related claims every year.

Smiley said MPI rarely finds the driver to be at fault because not all potholes can be avoided.

“In some situations you can’t - there’s water coverage. The pothole sprung up overnight,” said Smiley.

Herzberg said that’s what happened to him. After explaining about water covering the pothole, he said he didn’t lose points on his licence after all.

If a driver doesn’t like a decision made by an MPI adjuster, they can appeal to their supervisor.

MPI said it’s rare for a driver to be found at fault for hitting a pothole, with the percentage in the single digits.

- with a report from Jon Hendricks