National News

Bricks rain down from the sky, smashing mom's parked car

Posted June 19, 2018 1:01 p.m. EDT

— Ashton Martin thought someone was playing a cruel joke on her.

"The next thing I know - it looked like the Hulk smashed my car," she said.

While Martin was at work, outside - bricks were raining down on and around her car.

"At least eight to 10," she said. "[There was] one that fell and scratched down the hood of my car."

A second car was parked several feet away and sustained damage to its roof from a second brick crashing more than 12 stories.

They came from the building next door, which is owned by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, doing business as AT&T.

We know, right around that same time they jarred loose, downtown Oklahoma City was getting rocked by a major rain and lightning storm.

AT&T said it was one of those lightning bolts that hit their building.

When she tried to file a claim, AT&T denied her claim - citing an act of God.

Adding insult to injury, the denial letter Martin received from the company that handles AT&T's damage claim was full of misspellings.

She wonders if her case was given less priority.

"I think they try to take the easy way out," she said. "Like, 'Oh, weather happened that day.'"

AT&T responded to In Your Corner's questions with this response:

"We are sorry to hear about the damage to Ms. Martin's car. However, it was caused by a lightning strike, which is considered an 'act of nature' and should be claimed on her insurance."

Oklahoma Deputy Insurance Commissioner Buddy Combs said the situation falls outside of his agency's jurisdiction, since AT&T insures their own liability, instead of paying a separate insurance carrier to bear the risk.

It's like an insurance policy the company funds themselves.

"If you have a freak accident, rain storm, hail storm, strike of lightning that causes something to happen outside of their control, that's typically not going to be covered by any liability policy you have," he said.

Since AT&T is claiming the damage was an act of God, they're off the hook.

"They denied all of it and then couldn't prove to me what happened," Martin said.

The good news is Martin has car insurance.

The bad news is the 22-year-old single mom is stuck bumming rides and paying a $1,000 deductible.

-The bricks damaged several cars, but no one was injured.

-Martin's insurance could go after AT&T, but it would likely be more expensive to try to initiate a lawsuit.

-Martin met with her adjuster and is moving forward with repairs.