Hooray for Mark Thacker, who took his broken windshield story to The Herald. I, too, was lost in that paperwork and “tendering” nightmare. My first call to the state transportation officials in August was well received. They said to turn in a claim and gave me tips about being very thorough. It was never mentioned to me that because my broken windshield occurred in a construction zone, my claim would be automatically tendered to Atkinson CH2M Hill.
You can imagine my surprise when I opened up that letter weeks later. John Milton, the Transportation Department’s risk management director, was quoted in your article saying “claims are and should be rejected because there is not always evidence that proves the damage was caused by construction work.” If Mr. Milton had driven that stretch of freeway in August, he, too, would have been appalled. It was raining rocks off and on for days! I would cringe every day entering the freeway. The front of my car is one big rock chip. I had a rock chip repaired in my windshield the first part of August, and three weeks later a rock completely took the windshield out. Driving that freeway was downright dangerous.
Mr. Milton also was quoted as saying “That doesn’t mean the department doesn’t work to improve the way we do things.” Well, here are a couple of areas needing improvement: 1) Be upfront when people call about the possibility their claim may be tendered off; and 2) Don’t have your staff say they will offer assistance if the company your claim has been tendered to doesn’t respond in a timely manner. I am still waiting for a response to my e-mail dated Oct. 11, 2007. The WSDOT needs to re-evaluate the rejected claims, period.