Woman wants Dubuque to pay for damages - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Woman wants Dubuque to pay for damages

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A smashed windshield, and a damaged roof.

With winter coming, Jessica West of Marion just wants her minivan to be the way it once was.

"Devastated, because that's my only vehicle," she said. "It's the only way I get my kids to and from school."

West didn't know a visit to Eagle Point Park in Dubuque back in July would cause her 2007 Chrysler Town & Country to end up damaged. A massive oak tree fell on top of it.

She filed a claim against the city hoping they would pay for the damages, but they denied it. "I would like them to cover the damages of my vehicle. I was out a vehicle depending on my mom and other people to take my kids to and from school."

The city's insurer, Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, said Dubuque was not at fault for the tree falling over because the tree was in good condition. They said was caused by "unforeseen high winds."

For west, that excuse was not good enough, and she appealed. The damages are estimated to cost about $3,000.

As a single mother, West said this has been a major inconvenience. She also can't afford the insurance deductible. "I don't have the thousand dollars to pay for the insurance, and then to have my insurance go up after that, for something that wasn't even my fault."

According to documents, the city is also claiming to not be at fault because Iowa state law says municipalities are immune from being liable for damages caused by undiscovered defects -- in this case, a possibly decayed tree.

City park management said the tree has since been removed. 

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