Drivers' claims denied after car damaged by raised pavement markers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Raised pavement markers are still coming loose on local interstates and some drivers filing claims are being denied damages.

Jeff Riggans suffered more than $300 worth of damage to his car after striking a loose marker on Interstate 485.

[RELATED: Dislodged road markers scatter across I-77 construction zone]

Riggans said he hit a loose raised pavement marker that caused major damage to his tire and car.

“It cut right through the side wall and cut it open,” Riggans said.

Riggans filed a claim with the North Carolina Department of Transportation seeking reimbursement for damages, but he was denied.

[PAST STORY: NCDOT vows to make changes after drivers complain I-77 is unsafe]

The Attorney General's office sent Riggans a letter saying state law requires he prove facts establishing negligence on the part of a specific state employee.

In the state's position, there was no negligence and no legal liability.

"I don't know how I would possibly know that, so it seems impossible to file a successful claim,” Riggans said.

[PAST STORY: Loose road markers that plagued I-77, now on I-485]

Michelle Ferlauto, of the Lake Norman Transportation Safety Partnership, said multiple drivers have filed similar claims and no one has been successful.

“There is no way a regular citizen would know what employee is at fault,” Ferlauto said.

The state is removing thousands of markers from I-77, even ones that aren't loose.

NCDOT officials said crews did a sweep of I-485 over the weekend and collected several loose markers, but Channel 9 received an email Wednesday morning from a driver who said he struck one Tuesday night.

Ferlauto said there needs to be more oversight and the state needs to pay for damages.

“It's absolutely ridiculous,” Ferlauto said.

The Department of Justice said it handles each claim on a case-by-case basis, and if Riggans wants to appeal, he has to file a lawsuit against the industrial commission.

During an I-77 safety summit in April, Sen. Jeff Tarte specifically asked the NCDOT to take out vehicle insurance and reimburse drivers whose vehicles were damaged.

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