Car crashes involving state vehicles could potentially cost you

11 Listens: State vehicle insurance questions

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A car crash involving a state vehicle left a Little Rock man with more questions than answers. He said it was a stressful process that cost him thousands of dollars.

Arnold Dedmon said an Arkansas Department of Transportation truck driver slammed into his Cadillac Escalade after merging into his lane near Pine and 7th Street. 

"All I saw was a big massive bumper and something white coming at me and it hit my head up against the driver's glass," said Dedmon.

A police report was filed and the driver was ticketed, but Dedmon said when they exchanged information he was baffled to learn the state driver didn't have insurance.

"It was just a card laminated with codes and I said it's all just gibberish to me," added Dedmon.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation is not required to have insurance on its vehicles.

Dedmon's only option was to file a claim through the state claims commission, which hears and determines claims for things such as property damages, personal injury, and refunds. The car crash happened on August 29 and since then, Dedmon said he's contacted the Arkansas Department of Transportation's Legal Division and the Arkansas Claims Division and filled out multiple notarized claim forms.

"If they're at fault I feel like they should admit it and tell you what the process is as you turn in the invoices and pay them," said Dedmon.

Dedmon received letters from the claims commission and unfortunately learned it's not that cut and dry. Due to a policy put in place by legislation, a claimant must exhaust "all remedies against insurers, including the claimant's insurer."

The Department of Transportation said it filed a motion to dismiss the claim on November 3 because Dedmon's insurance covered everything, including his personal injury. Under the law, the state covers whatever insurance does not. 

The claims commission can either make a judgment or set a hearing. Dedmon then has the option to appeal. Now, this case is actually not uncommon, but we're told if enough people contact their legislators about it, changes could be made.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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