HOUSTON - When Merri Felton saw some white liquid splatter across her windshield, she initially thought it was from a flock of birds flying overhead. She used her windshield washing fluid and wipers and kept driving. Two days later, the white liquid had dried and was stuck on her car and her windshield. She realized that it wasn't bird droppings, but cement.
She discovered that the liquid had come from contractors pouring concrete from the Fort Bend Tollway overpass down onto Beltway 8. Felton had been driving on Beltway 8 when her car was sprayed.
"They'd been working on the toll road for awhile, but I had no idea that they'd be spraying cement all over the road as people are driving," she said.
Felton used a pressure washer to remove the bits of cement, but it left permanent spots on her car and chipped the paint in some areas. The damage was very noticeable to Felton because she had just had her car repainted four months earlier.
"This is a $3,500 paint job," said Felton. She did not feel that she should have to lose the money she invested in the paint job because the contractors were negligent, she explained to Local 2's consumer expert Amy Davis.
Felton filed a claim with the Harris County Toll Road Authority to pay for repairs. HCTRA copied her on a letter it sent to WW Webber, explaining that WW Webber was the construction company doing the work and therefore, responsible for her damages. But when Felton called WW Webber, she said she got the run around.
Webber told her it was another construction company that was doing the actual pouring.
Felton said she went in circles for four months until she finally called Local 2. In about three hours, the Harris County Toll Road Authority got to the bottom of which company was doing the road work.
A representative of that contractor, Odebrecht, called Felton and she received a check within a few days.
Local 2 asked an attorney what Felton could have done differently to get the same result sooner. The answer? Don't give up. Keep at the company you feel is responsible. If you don't get any response, small claims court may be your only option.
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