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Northeast Ohio drivers upset with road project damage claim rejections

Posted at 10:25 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 23:16:19-05

SOLON, Ohio — Some Northeast Ohio drivers are upset their insurance claims have been rejected after they reported their vehicles sustained thousands in damage while driving through two major road resurfacing projects.

The City of Solon said it's received more than 50 damage reports from motorists traveling though the road project on SOM Center Road.

Damage claims have also been filed by drivers making their way through a now completed project on Great Northern Boulevard. The claims have been filed over the past three months.

City leaders said nearly all of the claims have been rejected by Westfield Insurance, which carried insurance coverage on both projects.

Teresa Bertonaschi contacted News 5 after her car sustained $1,000 in damage, when it hit a large hole on Great Northern Boulevard, but she said she was left frustrated when she tried to file an insurance claim.

“I heard a big boom, I could tell it was my wheels, it was like that pop, pop, pop noise," Bertonaschi said.

“I had two flat tires, broken rims.”

“When I tried to file a claim, I was just getting the run around from the City of North Olmsted, the construction company, their insurance company.”

Aaron Hershey told News 5 it was the same story when his 2018 Toyota Avalon sustained $6,000 in damage after he said he hit a raised casting on SOM Center Road in Solon.

Hershey also received a claim rejection letter from Westfield insurance.

"There is no way that the road should have been in that condition and allowed to remain open, allowed to be opened to traffic,” Hershey said.

“Someone did something to put the road in that condition and allowed traffic to go over it. Somebody should be stepping up to pay.”

The City of Solon is trying to help.

Solon Public Works Commissioner William Drsek told News 5 the city has asked Westfield Insurance to re-evaluate the rejected claims associated with the SOM Center Road project.

“I think some things could have been addressed differently, but in the end we have to do a full investigation and see where the investigation takes us," Drsek said.

Westfield Insurance responded quickly to our story and said it will now re-evaluate claims on both projects on a case-by-case basis.

The company issued the following statement:

"We understand the frustration motorists have experienced during road resurfacing projects.

Westfield Insurance provides coverage to the construction company, Chagrin Valley Paving, and carefully considers claims filed against the company.

In regard to the SOM Center Resurfacing Project in Solon, the city of Solon and the state played an active role in the planning, and the city regularly inspected the construction site.

In addition, it’s important to note that reasonable precautions were taken to warn motorists of hazards in the construction zone, including posting signs warning motorists to slow down and proceed with caution. In these matters,

Westfield will continue to review individual claims but cannot comment on specifics, due to privacy concerns for all parties involved.

Similarly, on the Columbia/Great Northern Project, reasonable precautions were taken to warn motorists of hazards in the construction zone, including posting signs warning motorists to slow down and proceed with caution.

Again, in these matters, Westfield will continue to review individual claims but cannot comment on specifics, due to privacy concerns for all parties involved."