COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - City streets under construction resulted in some frustrated drivers and flat tires.
One man shared his story and said he's gotten a lot more than a few flats. "We're sorry it happened to you, but it's your loss," said Steve Miller. It's the reaction he said he got when his car was severely damaged. He said it happened after he drove over a slightly raised manhole that deployed his airbags, bent one of his tires and pulled car parts from the under carriage of his vehicle leaving it leaking transmission fluid for blocks.
Miller said he got two estimates, both stating it would cost him more than $9,000 to repair his three-week old car. "I contacted the highway department, and they directed me that I needed to fill out a claim form, which I did," he said, "But when it went through, they denied it."
Miller said he was told by the Department of Transportation that contractors are responsible for damages vehicles. But in this case, both the contractor and their insurance company sent him letters denying his claim, stating that their work had been altered by an outside party so they were not responsible. The letters also suggested he file a claim with his own insurance. "I was trying to decipher exactly why I was responsible for driving down a city street, abiding by the law, when there was a obstacle out in the street," Miller said.
Miller said after months of wrangling, he was left holding the bag, and his new but mangled car had to be repaired through his personal insurance. Now he's warning drivers who are taking trips through construction bombarded streets. "If they are not covered with some type of full coverage insurance of their own, that they could be left just high and dry," said Miller.
The contractor told WIS News 10 they took all the necessary precautions to make sure vehicles wouldn't be damaged but admitted the work done by a third party that did cause the damage was left in an unacceptable manner. There's no word on who that third party company was.