CHICAGO (CBS)—Drivers face the possibility of coming across road hazards every time they get behind the wheel, from poorly-maintained roadways to construction zone debris littering the roadway. But when damage occurs, who is responsible for paying for car repairs?

Andrew Eleby’s car sustained damage when Illinois Route 50 was repaved in the fall of 2017.

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A line of paint runs the length of one side of the car from where it came into contact with construction debris.

Eleby says he still hasn’t been paid for the repair costs.

“They were striping the highway,” Eleby said. “IDOT told me, well you have to fill out a claim.”

He submitted the necessary forms to the Illinois Department of Transportation, and enclosed pictures of the damage and a repair estimate for $616.98.

He waited on IDOT to respond to his damage claim for months, and when he finally received an answer, his claim had been denied.

Eleby’s denial appears to be routine when it comes to vehicle damage claims filed with IDOT.

We asked for three years of claims data for cars damaged by construction or work zone debris and pavement issues.

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For problems like buckled roads and potholes, we learned that from 2016 thru 2018, drivers filed nearly 1,500 claims for around $866,000 in damages. So far, IDOT has paid on only 26 claims for a total of about $8,400.

For construction zone damage, drivers filed 307 claims for nearly $408,000. IDOT only paid two of those claims, for a total of $26,000.

As IDOT told Eleby, the responsibility falls on contractors and insurance companies.

“They work for IDOT,” Eleby said. “My tax dollars went into pay for this contract, why do I have to contact them?”

He ended up contacting the subcontractor IDOT said was responsible for the damage, and when he filed another claim it was also denied.

“There’s gotta be some kind of recourse for me as a citizen to get my car taken care of in the proper way. It shouldn’t have taken two years,” he said.

Eleby sued the contractor, D2K, and the case was dismissed.

Both IDOT and the contractor told CBS 2 his claim was denied because he couldn’t pinpoint the exact area he was driving in when the damage occurred.

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IDOT also said the markings on his car did not appear to match the pavement markings he came into contact with.

Dorothy Tucker