This Labrador man's van was damaged in just seconds. But figuring out who's liable has taken months
A senior in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is fighting for repairs to his van after it was hit by a pedestrian light and pole while he was driving on Hamilton River Road last fall.
Francis Coates was driving along the 80-90 section of Hamilton River Road in late October, passing under a pedestrian light strung on wire over the street. The pole holding it up broke on one side, sending the light crashing down onto the front driver's side of the van, he said.
"Just a big bang," Coates said. "I just closed my eyes. I didn't know what was going on."
The driver's side headlight was smashed and the bumper crushed by the pedestrian light, while falling pole broke the passenger side mirror and scraped the car's side, said Coates.
Months later, who's responsible for fixing the damage is still not clear. According to a statement from the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, while the town is responsible for paying for streetlights on the poles, the poles themselves are owned by utlities and other companies, including N.L. Hydro and Bell.
When Coates reported the accident to the RCMP, the police called in N.L. Hydro to clean up the scene. But the Crown corporation told CBC News in a statement that while it helped clean up the street light sign and wire, it doesn't own the pole itself.
Coates's insurance provider told him Bell Aliant owns the pole but the company wasn't co-operating with their adjusters. Bell Aliant declined an interview request but told CBC News in a statement that they are investigating the matter.
Following the interview request by CBC News on Feb. 16, Bell Aliant contacted Coates's family and said independent insurance adjusters had been appointed and were investigating, Coates said he was told he'd be contacted when the investigation was complete but had not heard an update as of Friday.
Coates said his insurance representative told him that if they don't hear from Bell Aliant soon, he should get a lawyer and take it to court. But Coates said he can't afford that on his pension.
Coates said he just wants to see his vehicle fixed or replaced and hopes it can happen soon, as he needs a vehicle to live independently in his home.
"I hope somebody's trying to help me out somewhere and fix it up," he said.