Construction debris damaging vehicles, drivers stuck paying the - WSMV News 4

Construction debris damaging vehicles, drivers stuck paying the bill

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Roadwork throughout Nashville has drivers frustrated because construction debris is damaging people's cars.

There are 38 Tennessee Department of Transportation construction projects underway right now in Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Lewis counties. But the Channel 4 I-Team’s Lindsay Bramson discovered the state is not on the hook to cover the cost of damage to residents’ vehicles.

The I-Team has been contacted by several drivers who say they have damaged vehicles and aren't happy they have to pay for it. We wanted to know what the state is doing to help drivers.

“You can feel it. There’s a groove right there where the rock hit,” Angela Pollock said.

What started as a small chip on Pollock’s windshield is now a big headache.

“They said we could come on through and a rock just flung out,” Pollock said.

Pollock was driving on Highway 412 in Hohenwald at the time when she said debris from a construction project caused the damage.

“I haven't even made my first payment and now my windshield is busted and I’m already having to file an insurance claim on something I didn't even cause,” she said.

The damage doesn't meet her deductible, which means nearly $500 out of her pocket.

The project was a job for TDOT, but TDOT officials said when it comes to damage, it's up to the contractor to handle it.

"The contractors are legally responsible for the space within the project limits. It’s essentially their road during that time,” said TDOT spokeswoman Kathryn Schulte.

TDOT said they've received two complaints on Eubank Asphalt, Paving and Sealing; the company doing the work when Pollock’s car was damaged.

There were 598 total complaints made to TDOT in the last year, including everything from road complaints to dead animal pickup requests.

Claims cannot be filed with TDOT if damage occurs in a construction zone. They must be filed with the contractor, leaving TDOT with very little responsibility.

In 2014, the I-Team reported there's no database that shows if the contractor’s insurance ever picks up the cost. Two years later, TDOT officials said they still don't keep track of that information.

“What do you say to people who feel like you should be more involved than you are when it comes to problems that occur?” asked I-Team reporter Lindsay Bramson.

“Well, I think we are involved. We get calls regularly. And I think our involvement really is directing people where they need to go to get this taken care of as quickly as possible,” Schulte said.

In the meantime, Pollock is still driving her brand new Ford Escape with a cracked windshield, holding onto hope that she's not the one stuck paying for something she says isn't her fault.

“I really don't think that I should,” Pollock said.

The I-Team talked with the Michael Eubank, the owner of Eubank Asphalt, Paving and Sealing, off camera. Pollock said the contractor wasn't returning her calls until the I-Team started asking questions.

Since our investigation started, the contractor is now researching exactly what happened and has turned the issue over to his insurance company.

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