Claim payments in jeopardy after recommendation against funding - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Claim payments in jeopardy after recommendation against funding judgments

One of the tires damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes) One of the tires damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes)
One of the tires damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes) One of the tires damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes)
The bumper that was damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes) The bumper that was damaged by the conditions of Plank Road. (Source: Tammy Holmes)
Plank Road (Source: Tammy Holmes) Plank Road (Source: Tammy Holmes)
Plank Road (Source: Tammy Holmes) Plank Road (Source: Tammy Holmes)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

If your car was damaged by a pothole or debris on a state highway, the money might not be there this year to pay for those repairs. 

Cuts to higher education, health care and TOPS are all possibilities as lawmakers search for solutions to the state's financial dilemma. However, a suggestion by the Division of Administration to not fund any legal judgments could mean a rough ride for Louisiana drivers. 

"It was actually this side of the car," said car owner Tammy Holmes. 

Holmes was frustrated over what happened to her Mercedes Benz last week. She said she was driving down Plank Road near the Baton Rouge Airport when suddenly her car veered off course. 

"The road was totally stripped and there were potholes everywhere. I just happened to hit the one pothole that blew my tire," Holmes said. 

Holmes said two of her tires were damaged. She took pictures of her car that showed the tires busted and her rims and front bumper also damaged. Holmes said it cost her $700 to replace the two tires and that's just the beginning.  

"I have the number for the state and I was going to call and after got the estimate on the rims I was going to call and see if I could file a claim," Holmes said. 

Because her car was damaged on a state highway, Holmes can file a claim to have the state pay for the repairs. Lawmakers usually set aside money for judgments at the end of each legislative session. 

Greg Owens, the owner of Owens Collision Center, said his company handles approximately a dozen of these claims each year. 

"We file a report, their adjuster comes out. We adjust the claim and we repair the car," Owens said. 

However, the governor's Division of Administration said because money is so tight right now, they are recommending that the state not put aside any money to pay those kinds of claims this year. It would mean that Holmes and other drivers whose cars were damaged on state highways would have to instead file with their insurance companies or pay out of pocket. 

"We pay such high taxes for everything from police to the roads being fixed and it's disappointing that happens and not only to me there was a person behind me who had the same issue," Holmes said. 

"The consumer will have to make a report with their own insurance company, pay the deductible, their rates will go up and it's a major inconvenience," Owens said. 

It is disappointing news for Holmes who said she has yet to learn exactly how much the repairs will cost.

"I think they should come up with some way to reimburse the people who are having damage to their cars," Holmes said. 

The legislature has the final say. The issue will likely be on the table during the next special session, when lawmakers will have to make critical cuts and figure out a way to balance the state's budget. 

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