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B.C. driver fights for compensation after vehicle damaged by road marking paint

Click to play video: 'Consumer Matters: Fighting for compensation after road-painting disaster' Consumer Matters: Fighting for compensation after road-painting disaster
Global's Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa has the story of one driver's battle to be compensated, after a road-painting disaster – Apr 21, 2021

A B.C. man is warning the public after his car was damaged by road marking paint along a narrow stretch of highway.

“I needed to make this public because the province has just washed their hands of it as did the marking company,” Peter Murphy told Consumer Matters.

Last July, the Kelowna resident was driving along Highway 4 near Port Alberni to Ucluelet when he came across a road marking crew.  Murphy said he slowed down and obeyed all the signage trying to move his vehicle as far right as possible. “It’s not a divided highway. We only have so much room on the shoulder,” he said.

Making matters worse, Murphy said there wasn’t a barrier in place between his vehicle and the painting truck. “There’s no plexiglass or barrier of any kind,” he added. “I just remember looking down the oncoming lane saying that paint truck is painting right now. He’s coming our way and I can only pull over so far. I sure hope we don’t get sprayed.”

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When Murphy arrived in Ucluelet he made a shocking discovery.

The entire lower section of the driver side of his truck had been sprayed with yellow paint including the wheel wells and tires.

Murphy reached out to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure seeking financial compensation, but said he didn’t get a response from the province for weeks.

“I followed up after four weeks which is really seven weeks and then I followed up again after six weeks and they said ‘ok yes we are going to contact the construction or road marking company’,” said Murphy.

That contracted company was Lafrentz Road Marking, which eventually sent a letter to Murphy stating:

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“In having met our contractual obligations, there is no reason to believe we acted negligently or that we did not respond appropriately.” – Lafrentz Road Marking.

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Murphy decided to take his truck to a detail shop paying $787.50  to have the paint removed. “I suppose I could have called ICBC and made a claim and paid the deductible, but you know ICBC didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything wrong – just no one is taking responsibility for it,” Murphy said.

Consumer Matters reached out to Lafrentz Road Marking about Murphy’s case and were told to direct our inquiries to the province.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure told Consumer Matters:

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“…the ministry has a specific claims process that is designed to ensure a fair review, and encourages Mr. Murphy to follow the claims process as it allows for the submission of photos.” – B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Murphy resubmitted his claim along with photos of his damaged truck but was no closer to settling his claim with the province.

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure informed Murphy via email that if he remained unsatisfied he could submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request or pursue the matter in small claims court.

“At no point in time was the province or this marking company going to take responsibility for this. That’s the impression I got over and over again,” Murphy said.

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