Action 9: Should the city pay for your car's dings and dents?

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

With so much road work in the Charlotte area, drivers could end up with dents and dings in their vehicle. So Action Nine Investigator Jason Stoogenke looked into what it takes to not get stuck with the bill if your vehicle is damaged.

Driving through areas like uptown, you never know what obstacles might be in the road that could damage your car. And getting someone to cover that damage can be tough -- but doable.

Gregorio Welch takes care of his car. He said he was just driving home one day when he traveled through a construction zone in northwest Charlotte and hit a spot of broken pavement.

"You know how you hit a bump and you kind of uhhhh...and you feel it?" said Welch.

He said that bump bent his rim -– which he got fixed for $175. He was hoping he could get the city to pay him back. After all, he's worked for the county for 14 years. He's used to red tape and knows how to navigate the system.

"I thought I'd use the resources that I know I have working for the county to get some action," said Welch.

Here's how the system works: The city is self-insured, so if it's the one doing the work it will decide if it is liable.

It may pay. It may not.

Most of the time, the city hires a company to do the work, and the liability is typically transferred to the contractor. So the contractor's insurance would handle the claim.

That's what happened to Welch. The city passed him to Blythe Construction –- and Blythe denied the claim.

"Frustrating," Welch said. "Very frustrating."

An insider told Action Nine that your best chance to get the damage covered is if the problem is so obvious, so dangerous, or there long enough that crews should have known about it and fixed it.

Suing is also an option, but if no one got hurt it may not be worth it.

Action Nine emailed a request to the city's risk office to see how many claims it gets and how often it actually says "yes" to those claims.

If you do have damage, the place to start is the city's risk management office, which you can reach at 704-336-3301.