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Problem Solved: Insurance company agrees to pay for motorized chair after auto accident

Posted at 8:45 PM, Oct 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-22 20:45:56-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Kristie Drayton said she relies on a motorized wheelchair to get around town. However, this summer, she said an inattentive driver and an insurance company made her life more difficult.

She said an accident happened on June 6th as she crossed Plainfield Avenue in her motorized wheelchair.

"[The driver] was looking down. I put my arm up, yelled, she looked up, dropped her jaw and next thing I saw was the grill of the SUV and she ran right into me," Drayton explained.

Her chair was snapped in two.

“I ended up with three broken ribs, a punctured lung, [and] whiplash," Drayton explained a few of her injuries.

She said the driver's insurance company paid her medical and therapy bills but refused to cover her busted chair.

"[It’s] almost $6,000 to repair it, and it’s $7,000 to replace it."

In the denial letter, State Farm stated Drayton drove a motorized scooter and that motorized scooters don't meet the definition of a 'motor vehicle'.

But according to Drayton and Grand Rapids police who responded to the scene, she was in a motorized chair. They both said she was crossing at the crosswalk and had the right-of-way.

But for months, Drayton said her pleas got her nowhere.

“This has put a damper, a major damper on my life,” said Drayton. “I was doing so good and this has set me back. I just want State Farm to do what's right and replace or repair my chair."

So, she reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers. FOX 17’s Darren Cunningham called and emailed the insurance company, stating the facts of Drayton’s case and asked what could be done.

"You called State Farm,” said Drayton. “State Farm got on it, and I had my chair in a week and a half. it was awesome. I cried."

Drayton, who depended on a loaner chair since the crash, is on the move once again in her own new chair and is thankful State Farm came through.

She said they changed their mind after deciding that her wheelchair was an extension of her body.

She's glad this uphill battle is finally over.

“You calling the State Farm... it got the ball rolling,” Drayton said.

While Drayton said she's gotten her independence back, she said State Farm has also agreed to pay for home help as she continues her recovery.

"I got my freedom back, and I’m so thankful for FOX 17.”