When county striping sprays your car….August 28th, 2013 by travis baker
The in basket: Kim Rye wrote to say, “On August 7, I was on McWilliams Road making a left turn onto Highway 303. The county truck came up the road past me spraying lines the entire time.
“No problem, that’s their purpose. (But) I realized when I returned home that the paint had over-sprayed onto my car from front to back.
“When the county was notified, they sent me information on how to remove the paint myself. Evidently, this happens quite frequently. Following the instructions, I was not able to remove the paint from my car or the molding without potentially damaging the finish.
“So the county’s protocol for the auto owner to receive professional help with the paint removal is to have the owner get two estimates from a repair shop, fill out a damage claim that can be downloaded from their website and have it notarized. You are to send said documents to the Risk Management Department for review. They will then get back to you.
“I don’t understand why it was MY responsibility to drive all over the county to get estimates and to find a notary,” Kim said. “Gas is not cheap. If I worked a full-time job, I would have lost time and possibly money from work. If this happens as often as it appears, why don’t they contract out with a company that can take care of this in a timely manner?
“One of the places I went to for an estimate is contracted by the city of Bremerton to handle these situations. There were AT LEAST four to five other cars in the turn lane, as well. “The lowest estimate I got was over $200. This is a very expensive problem. Maybe they should ‘re-think’ a better way to handle the line-painting as well as keeping from having to deal with the aggravation AFTER the fact,” she concluded.
The out basket: Tim Perez, Kitsap County risk manager, says, “While we understand that it can be cumbersome for some individuals to go through the claims process, Kitsap County is required to abide by all laws related to filing a tort claim against a government entity.
“Until a claim is investigated and filed through the appropriate channels, we cannot say if it will be a claim which the county would be accepting liability for or not. As it is our responsibility to protect the county’s assets and to ensure appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, every claim we receive must be investigated and determined based upon the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident.
“Kitsap County makes every effort to investigate claims quickly and if it is determined that the county is at fault, we attempt to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
“In the case of paint claims, since we do not know at the time of the call if the claim will be covered, we offer the paint removal instructions so that the caller is able to take immediate action to mitigate their damages in case they are responsible for the removal cost.
“The paint removal instructions are easy to understand and follow, and more often than not remove the paint completely without any further effort on the part of the caller or the county. If the driver follows the paint removal instructions, additional detail services are generally not necessary.”
The law doesn’t prohibit the county from establishing a contract with a single provider, such as Kim suggests, Tim said. “This is a good suggestion and Risk Management will assess whether an agreement of this nature would be feasible and appropriate,” but he said he doesn’t intend to introduce it for now.
“At the time of an incident, Risk Management does not know whether it will be a covered claim,” he said. “If indeed it is a covered claim, the remedy may not always be routine and therefore specific arrangements may need to be made to assist the individual.”