Woman calls Norfolk ‘immoral’ for denying damage claim

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach woman called 10 On Your Side after the claim for repairs to her car was denied by Norfolk officials. She says she alerting the city to a roadway problem and what they’ve done in return just isn’t right.

Just one glance at Katie Ridgwell’s car doesn’t tell the entire story. You have to look a little deeper.

“There’s paint that’s all been taken off the hood,” Ridgwell said. “I have cracks in my grill.”

The damage done to Ridgwell’s car happened in mid-June, after a 100-degree day in Norfolk. “The road buckled underneath, sending huge pieces of gravel and rocks just flying in my direction,” she said. “There was a big cloud of smoke. You couldn’t even see clearly.”

Crews spent hours repairing Terminal Boulevard in the middle of rush hour. Ridgwell believes she was the first to let Norfolk officials know what happened to the road.

“They told me everything I needed to do to file the claim,” Ridgwell said.

Ridgwell got two estimates. The damage was mostly cosmetic, but costs $2,800 to fix. She waited for weeks for a response from the city. Last week, she got a letter in the mail.

“Dear Ms. Ridgwell,” the letter said. “Our investigation of your incident revealed that the city is unable to accept liability in connection with the above reference matter.”

Ridgwell called Wayne Ringer with the city attorney’s office to get clarification into why her claim was denied. “He told me that the reason why my claim was denied was because the city did not have notice of defect before accident,” Ridgwell said.

10 On Your Side called Ringer, and he told us he doesn’t discuss individual claims with the news media. He went on to say, if a street defect happens before the city has knowledge of it, the city isn’t liable.

“It’s a very immoral way to look at things and to handle matters like this,” Ridgwell said.

Ridgwell does have her car insured, but doesn’t think her company should pay for the damage. She believes that should be done by the person who owns the road: “How can you have all this evidence and facts in front of you and say, ‘sorry, we didn’t know about it until you told us, so we can’t do anything for you?'”

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