Womenz Magazine

Frustrated Virginia mother blasts city for refusing to pay for repairs after city’s dump truck driver admittedly ‘overestimated’ and crushed her car

Frustrated Virginia mother blasts
(Photo: YouTube Screenshot/WAVY)

A woman in Virginia is enraged that the city of Norfolk would not pay to fix her car after a sanitation truck crashed it. She was still waiting for the city to accept responsibility five months after the incident. One local company stepped up to assist the single mother who wished to donate the automobile to her adolescent daughter.

Chavonne Grant’s neighbor saw the trash truck go down their street before colliding with her 2007 BMW 328i. The car which was parked outside the owner’s house was hit so hard that the truck became stuck, and the back of the car was damaged, according to WAVY.

“There’s a gaping hole right here, the whole tire rod, the tire was flattened. The bumper was pushed up, but the bumper was on the ground. It’s completely cracked. … The hood had to be pushed down,” Grant said while describing the damages done to her car on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.

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The driver was “extremely apologetic” and took responsibility for the crash, according to the woman. “He came out, he explained that he was covering a shift and he was moving too fast and over or underestimated my car,” Grant said. After expressing regret, the truck driver promised her that the damages would be paid by the city’s insurance, and the two filed a police complaint about the accident.

The city, on the other hand, has not. Grant claims she waited weeks for a response from the city, but no one did. In an attempt to cut through the red tape, she contacted her city councilman, who later sent a third-party adjuster to inspect the car.

Grant eventually heard from the city two weeks later. In a letter, authorities stated that the city of Norfolk had sovereign immunity in situations like hers and that the repairs would not be paid for by the city. The single mom said the accident has disenfranchised her and now she is “extremely frustrated” and “overwhelmed.”

She also questioned the city’s claim to sovereignty, pointing out how unfair it seemed to be. She said, “If I hit your car right now, I would be liable. It just makes it seem they can do anything to our property and I’m sure people are not aware of this.”

Sovereign Immunity is a notion that states that a person who works for the government and injures someone while doing their job for the government cannot be sued by the victim. The courts have the authority to waive sovereign immunity. This occurs when evidence shows that the government employee engaged in illegal or reckless behavior, such as drinking on the job. The city’s attorney’s office released a statement saying it is up to them to decide which claims the city must pay.

Given the nature and extent of the City’s operations across numerous Departments and throughout the City, there, unfortunately, are situations where property damage occurs,” it read before detailing that when officials in Norfolk receive claims for property damage, the municipality conducts its investigation to determine if it is “legally responsible” for damages.

“A determination whether the City has legal liability is based on the facts of the event and on the application of the law to the facts. Many times, claimants present sympathetic cases for losses, but the City, like other local governmental entities, can only pay damages when it is legally liable,” the city’s lawyers stated.

According to Norfolk’s attorney, Grant’s claim was not received until January 23 and was denied on February 21 after being “thoroughly investigated.” According to the investigation, “the City’s driver was actively picking up refuse at the time of the incident and that, therefore, the City had immunity with respect to this claim and is not liable,” given the Sovereign Immunity law.

The city then suggested Grant “continue to pursue her property damage claim with her insurance company.” After hearing the news from the city, Grant said she was “really disappointed.” When a local car maintenance company learned of Grant’s problem, they stepped up as a good Samaritan to assist her.

Grant’s car was repaired for free by Elite Auto Body in Virginia Beach. Nick Ciavarra, Elite Auto’s body shop manager, said, “My painter Alex was watching the news, and he saw the story and thought it would be a neat idea. We’ve done charity work before.”

The car company contacted the woman via WAVY, and her vehicle was repaired. The woman’s anxiousness seemed to have subsided after getting the unexpected help. “Words can’t even explain how grateful I am,” Grant said in another interview with WAVY.

“I just want to say to Elite Auto Body thank you so very much. You have no idea,” she said. “I promised myself I wouldn’t be up here crying, so I’m not going to cry.”

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