Blow a tire on a road hazard? Here’s how to get compensated
Atlanta News First consumer investigator explains how you could get compensated for damage.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Two months after replacing a set of tires, Atlanta News First consumer investigator Better Call Harry split one on a sunken manhole cover in Buckhead.
Two manhole covers side-by-side on Piedmont Road are well known by the community, with one being a hazard that most people try to drive around.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), manhole covers are required to be flush with the pavement. So why was one of the manhole covers on Piedmont Road two inches lower than the rest of the asphalt?
Atlanta News First went back on Google photos to see how long the problem has been there. Images show the manhole cover sunken below the asphalt going back to 2011.
When Better Call Harry called GDOT about it, they say he was the first to officially report it to the state agency in charge of Georgia roads.
But isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, report it?
According to a GDOT spokesperson, you are supposed to report it. But it’s who you report it to, that is the complicated part. You have to find out who is responsible for not only that stretch of road, but also the hazard itself.
The odds of successfully making a road hazard construction claim with your city, county, or state’s DOT aren’t great because you have to prove they knew about the hazard but neglected to repair it.
In the case of the Piedmont Road hazard that Harry witnessed, GDOT said it’s AT&T, the phone carrier, that owns and maintains that manhole cover.
As a courtesy, a GDOT maintenance crew raised the cover and used a little asphalt to smooth it out.
If you have damaged your car on a road hazard, here are some common steps you should take:
Step one – Take a video of the hazard and the damage to your vehicle.
Step two – Report the hazard. Call your city or county transportation department. If it’s a state road, call 511. If the damage is severe, file a police report and save all receipts. The more documentation, the better.
Step three – Find out who maintains the road. A simple search on Google Maps should provide the answer, or you can simply ask Google who maintains it. On Google Maps, if the road is identified with GA and a number, it’s a state route. Piedmont road is GA-237.
Step four – This is where it gets tricky because you must prove the DOT had knowledge. One way to do that is by pulling up a Google Maps street view of the location.
In the top right corner, it says, “See more dates.” Clicking the tab allows users to look at the same location on different dates in time. If the hazard has been there for a year or more, the odds of an approved claim improve.
Step five – File the claim. GDOT is broken up by region; for metro Atlanta, it’s region 7. Claims should be filed with GDOT’s regional safety officer at 770-216-3810.
Damage claims with the city of Atlanta can be filed HERE.
Another option - Better Call Harry called the tire store where he made the purchase. Because the tire was pretty new, Butler Tire submitted a claim to the manufacturer, which paid for 60% of the tire.
If there’s something you would like CBS46′s Consumer Investigator Better Call Harry to look into, fill out this submission form.
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