We can all agree: Last winter was difficult for many to get through - and Mother Nature was especially hard on the roads.

"When we have the extreme freezing and thawing what happens is we end up with potholes," said Faith Cox, a statewide risk manager for the Department of Administration.

Some of those potholes led to car damage.

"We experienced 31 pothole claims in ITD region 3 which includes 10 counties including Ada and Canyon County," Cox said.

That's a significant increase compared to the number of pothole claims the department typically sees, which is only three.

Before the department can approve or deny the pothole claim, Cox says they make a determination of liability. Part of that process is doing an investigation to find out whether or not the state was negligent.

"If we are negligent by 51 percent or more then we will pay the claim," Cox said. "If we determine that there is contributing negligence we have to determine the percentage, or if we weren't negligent at all that is when a claim would be denied."

They also look at other contributing factors.

"Was someone maybe speeding too fast?" said Cox. "Were they going faster than the road conditions allowed? Was there signage there? So we take all of that into consideration when we determine fault."

Out of the 31 tort claims that were filed through the Secretary of State's Office, Cox says they denied each one because their investigation found the potholes were caused by harsh weather - not by the state's negligence.

"When we know that there was notification, there were press releases put out there, there was signage being put up, we did our due diligence to try to at least notify the commuters that were on the road," Cox said.