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Operation Safe Roads: Driver's rights after construction zone damage

Posted: 6:15 PM, Jul 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-18 21:45:43-04
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TEMPE, AZ — On your commute, do you regularly come across a construction zone?

Operation Safe Roads is answering a viewer question from Julia.

She wrote in to Roads@ABC15.com to report that her car tire was damaged while traveling in a Tempe construction zone. She writes, "Tire wasn't repairable... had to buy a new one... still have it, with the nail in it. Any idea who would take responsibility?"

So, ABC15 reached out to Attorney Marc Lamber, a legal analyst with the Lamber Goodnow team at Fennemore Craig, P.C.

"You need to prove the construction company was negligent," said Lamber. "So, how do you do that?"

Lamber explains that evidence is needed and is hard to come by in construction zone cases.

"How do you prove that it was their nail from their construction site versus a nail from anywhere else you've driven in any other location on any other day," Lamber asked.

He said, if you could prove that the screw or nail came directly from the construction site somehow, that is a start.

Lamber suggests sending a formal letter to the construction company with photos and any other evidence you have regarding the vehicle damage before hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit.

"The lawyer is going to cost more than one tire," Lamber said. "The lawyer is going to cost more than four tires."

Lamber said another option is Small Claims Court if the repair is less than $3,500.

"It's super simplified," Lamber explained. "So you don't need to be a lawyer to process the claim."

Finally, Lamber suggests contacting your auto insurance company. They may have a cheaper option before the damage even happens.

"Sometimes, with your auto insurance package that you have insuring your car, you can have road hazard coverage," Lamber said.

Overall, his advice is to think about the time and money you will have to put up compared to how expensive the damage is.

"You need to think about those things in the beginning," Lamber said. "Because once you start that, it's sometimes too late."

Have a question or road issue you want to contact Operation Safe Roads about? Call: (833) AZROADS or email: Roads@abc15.com.