Mississippi Woman Caught in Insurance Run-Around After Accident
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For some drivers, settling a car accident claim goes smoothly. It's just a matter of some paperwork and maybe a phone call or two, and the claim is closed. It's important to have car insurance to cover these unexpected events. If you're looking for a new policy, use Jerry to shop for car insurance online.
And yet other drivers will be caught in a run-around that can last months or even years. That's exactly what happened to Mississippi resident Vicki Dean. In late 2020, her Buick was damaged after she drove through a stretch of road that was under construction.
Who is responsible: the city or the construction company?
One evening in October 2020, Dean and her husband were out for a relaxing drive. They passed through road repairs that were still underway from Hurricane Katrina damage. Fifteen years after the hurricane swept through, the lingering road work was a contentious issue for East Biloxi residents.
According to Dean, she cautiously drove through one of these construction zones. However, an unmarked, opened manhole cover damaged her car. Dean is not alone in her ordeal. Driving through a road construction site is a common cause of car accidents.
Unfortunately for Dean, her car suffered serious damage. Right after the accident, a friend looked over her car and told her that the frame was damaged. When Dean reached out to the city for help, she became caught in a months-long runaround. The city claimed that the construction contractor, Oscar Renda Contracting Inc, was responsible for the damage.
Dean has been in touch with Oscar Renda, but says that the company has been dragging its feet in settling the case. She's been left to rely on public transportation and acquaintances to get to work and other commitments.
COVID and a lack of resources stalled the claims process
If not for the run-in with the manhole cover, Dean's Buick might have lasted many more years. Buicks have a reputation for longevity and often make "best used car" lists. But for now, her damaged car sits parked as she awaits a settlement.
U.S. News reported on Dean's ordeal. The newspaper reached out to Oscar Renda for comment. The company says that Dean was slow in returning the necessary paperwork, and is the reason behind the settlement delay.
Dean faced many hurdles in filling out the paperwork, which were compounded by the COVID pandemic and a lack of resources. She doesn't have a computer or a printer at home. She had to take multiple bus rides to get photos printed out at a drugstore. She also stated that no one would come to her house to give an estimate.
Unfortunately, many people in lower-income communities like East Biloxi struggle to get the money they deserve in these types of situations. Many car accident claim reports must be completed online, a hurdle for those without computers or internet in their homes. In the meantime, people have to rely on public transportation, expensive taxis, or help from friends.
Hurricanes can make Mississippi's roads dangerous
Because of its coastline, storm surges in Mississippi can quickly flood an area and create dangerous roads. The Mississippi Department of Transportation urges drivers to be aware of changing weather conditions during hurricane season. And as Dean's story made clear, infrastructure damage from hurricanes may take years to repair.