(WICHITA, Kan.) — A Wichita family learned the hard way that when you have a wreck you may be paying for more than just car repairs.
When you wreck your car you expect to pay for the repairs. What about the damage you do to state property?
“Out of the blue I got this letter from an attorney for an accident that happened a year ago,” says Margaret Kounter who called FactFinder 12 wanting an answer.
She got a bill for more than $1,800 from attorneys representing the State of Kansas.
Her son, Jeff, wrecked his car on icy conditions last winter
“I lost control of the car and tapped the guardrail,” says Jeff.
The Kounters, who feel it was just an accident, think the state should pay for the damage to the guardrail.
“We have police, fire, we have roads. All this is supposed to be done for us. Why are they coming after us for guardrail?” asks Margaret.
This may help you understand why:
The Kansas Department of Transportation says it submitted 587 claims last year alone. Those claims total almost $430,000. The figures are for Sedgwick County only.
“Out of this storm I’ve got three weeks of work to do without even trying,” says David Lechner with KDOT referring to the latest winter storm to hit the area.
“Everyone is responsible for themselves,” says Lechner.
That means if you do the damage, you pay the bill.
The state says the costs and work add up quickly.
“My crew did 11,000 feet of guardrail. That’s a little over two miles,” says Lechner who’s talking about repair work last year.
And if the state knows who caused the damage, FactFinder 12 learned it will come after that person for money to repair it.
“He's probably glad the guardrail was there. It was there to protect him,” says Lechner.
Jeff is glad it was there. He just doesn’t think he should have to pay for the repairs.
“I feel that I pay taxes and that should take care of it.”