HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - On August 1, 2015, Theresia Hunter was leaving Warehouse Furniture on Jordan Lane in Huntsville. As she exited the parking lot to turn east onto Grizzard Road, she heard a loud noise.
The sway bar on her vehicle was knocked loose. Hunter had to have it towed to a garage for repairs and rent a car in the meantime.
About five weeks and $1,000 later, she got back on the road, but she continues to run on empty.
"It set me back $1,000," Hunter said, "so every, month I start out $500 in the hole."
Hunter is on a fixed income and the $500 in deductible costs, along with the nearly $500 in rental car fees, truly did some damage. Her vehicle, also, continues to give her trouble.
"I can't afford to put it back in the shop," Hunter said.
Nearly a year later, the same spot that ruined her vehicle is wreaking havoc on other undercarriages. WHNT News 19 drove by the parking lot on Monday. In five minutes time, we witnessed three different cars bottom out while leaving the business.
"If I pay my city taxes, and the street on which I had this mishap or accident was on city, or owned by the city, I figured they should recover my loss," Hunter said.
For the last 11 months, she has been trying to recoup her money. First, she contacted the city of Huntsville for help. She said she was told the problem spot was located on state property.
Hunter then contacted the Alabama Department of Transportation, which came out to survey the site.
"The gentleman told me, 'No, Miss Hunter, I can tell you right now, that is not our property,'" she said.
Hunter said she was later told the property did, in fact, belong to the city of Huntsville. Her insurance company suggested filing a claim.
"I didn't even know I had that right," Hunter said. "I didn't even know that was something to even consider."
Navigating her way to a solution would not get any easier, though.
"Who do I file the papers to to get my money back?" Hunter asked.
She met with multiple attorneys hoping to get some guidance. She said no one was willing to take her case, and on fixed income, she really could not afford it anyway.
WHNT News 19 contacted Warehouse Furniture to verify that the easement is within the city's jurisdiction. The manager there said the staff often receives complaints about the spot, but the company can't change it, the city has to fix it.
Without representation, Hunter filed a complaint against the city of Huntsville. After months of navigating the legal process on her own, she is scheduled for a bench trial in small claims court in October.
Hunter started fighting this battle along nearly a year ago and she said she is determined to help others learn from her experience.
"Most people would have just given up," she said.
WHNT News 19 took action and contacted the city of Huntsville, including the Mayor's Office and the Public Works Department. We have yet to hear back, but we will continue to aggressively track down answers for Hunter.