State slow to act on Ohio 60 damage claims
MARIETTA — The deteriorating road conditions in the first two months of the year on Ohio 60 between Marietta and Beverly cracked an unknown number of windshields, and at least four claims have been filed against the state by people seeking compensation for damage.
Anyone who believes the state is responsible for an injury or property damage can seek compensation but must file a claim through the Ohio Court of Claims, headquartered in Columbus.
Ohio 60 during the severe winter weather that hit the Mid-Ohio Valley in January and February deteriorated quickly with pavement breaks, ruts and potholes. The most common form of damage reported was from flying stones hitting windshields.
Ray Schaad, who works for Larry Lang Excavating of Beverly, filed two claims, one for a pickup truck and one for a dump truck. According to the claim, the dump truck windshield was cracked in two places from rocks flying up from the wheels of other vehicles three miles south of Lowell about 2 p.m. Jan. 23.
The day before, the windshield of the pickup truck was cracked in five places a mile south of Lowell about 10 a.m., his claim states.
Schaad said Friday he travels the road daily and sometimes three or four times a day.
“It’s not so bad now, but it was a total mess then,” he said.
The area around Lowell now has new pavement, and Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 public information officer Ashley Rittenhouse said the entire road from Marietta to the Beverly village limits should be rehabilitated by the end of the year.
A Michigan contractor in 2016 was hired to microsurface the road but the work did not meet ODOT standards, and after unsuccessfully attempting to get the contractor, Ny-Mac, to repair the deficiencies, ODOT hired anther contractor to address problems with water pooling on the road. The snow, ice and rain early this year damaged the pavement, and the pavement damaged many vehicles.
Schaad said he hasn’t received a response after filing his claim.
“They told me it would take four to six months,” he said.
Amanda Hambel of Stockport was on her way to Marietta on the afternoon of Jan. 20 when rocks thrown up by a truck she was passing cracked the windshield of her 2017 Toyota 4-Runner. Hambel said Friday she hasn’t had the damage repaired yet, although the crack has grown. She filed a claim of $239.95 on Feb. 16.
“My check has gone through,” she said, referring to the $25 filing fee that must accompany claims when they’re filed. “Now I’m waiting around to see what I’m supposed to do.”
Diana Cary of Beverly filed a claim stating that she lost two windshields while driving on Ohio 60, one during the second week in January south of Lowell, which she had replaced, and again, with the new windshield, on Jan. 23 on the same stretch of road. She filed a claim for $350. Cary declined to comment when contacted by the Times.
The Ohio Court of Claims provided two databases, one for pothole damage, which had 145 claims registered from Jan. 1 through Friday on Ohio roads, and the other for personal injury and property damage claims, which had 56 claims filed for the same period.
The court’s website indicates that any claim for less than $10,000 is handled by the court clerk as an administrative case. An investigation report on the claim is supposed to be filed with the clerk within 60 days. The claimant should receive a copy of that report and has 21 days to respond to it. The clerk has another 21 days after that to make a decision. If the decision is in the claimant’s favor, payment, which includes reimbursement of the $25 filing fee, follows within 60 days of the decision.
How to File a Damage Claim
* If you think the state was responsible for damage to your vehicle, you can file a claim through the Ohio Court of Claims
* Information is available at ohiocourtofclaims.gov
* Complete the three-page form, available online for printout
* After following the instructions, send the completed form by mail, along with a $25 filing fee, to:
Ohio Court of Claims
Thomas J. Moyer Judicial Center
65 S. Front St., 3rd floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215