In Your Corner: Expensive Meal

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 27, 2008 at 7:49 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's Newscenter) -- A visit to a local restaurant cost a Fort Wayne man one-thousand dollars. Two weeks after buying a 2006 Dodge Lancer in December, Shane Chambers went with a friend for some late night pancakes at IHOP, he had quite a surprise waiting for him when he was finished
Shane Chambers said "I see a sign shattered on my car"
That night the area experienced strong winds and part of IHOP's sign fell on Shane's Lancer, causing about 3-thousand dollars worth of damage. The restaurant turned in the claim to their insurance company, Society Insurance, but much to Shane's surprise, Society sent him a letter saying IHOP wasn't responsible, because it was the straight line winds that broke the sign.
"they sent me a letter saying contributory negligence and it's my fault, a 976 dollar plate of pancakes isn't exactly in the budget. I feel like I'm never gonna see this come to an end" Said Shane Chambers
Shane's insurance company eventually fixed the damage, but his deductible and rental car cost him nearly one-thousand dollars out of his pocket. We spoke with Society back in May and were told that a lengthy arbitration process was underway. We had better luck with IHOP's management, the company was not only cooperative, but assured as they would take care of the customer's losses
After investigating for a few weeks, IHOP officials told us while they don't admit any wrongdoing, they did send a check for one-thousand dollars to Shane for his losses along with a gift certificate.
Shane said, "I'm amazed you were able to get this done for me, I didn't think I get anything, I'm just happy with how IHOP handled things"
So who's is liable in a case like Shane's, we spoke with local State Farm Insurance agent Sam Till, who told us disputes over coverage are common in the insurance industry.
Sam Till- "I think what they're saying by the letter of the law their insured is not responsible and that's why they took this defense"
Till says it's in the best interest to workout disputes with your carrier, you can also file a complaint with the Indiana Insurance Commissioner, and often times insurance companies will find some sort of mediation. In Shane's case, it's hard to fault IHOP since they were basically at the mercy of their insurance company. In the end, Shane got a fair shake and avoided a really expensive bill for parking in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

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