FIRST ON 3: Bridge collapse victim has additional surgery, friends collect donations
UPDATE: Friends of the man injured in the partial bridge collapse on I-75 are asking for donations to help cover his medical bills after he underwent another emergency surgery.
Ryan Hixon's friends have set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $300,000.
According to family members, Hixon underwent an additional surgery last month after complications. Those complications are detailed on the fundraising page.
"Ryan underwent another emergency surgery on July 24, 2019," it reads. "There was substantial inflammation around his appendix which had to be removed. This continues to add to the medical expenses."
Friends also note that the state caps the dollar amount that Hixon can be awarded at $300,000. Family members told Channel 3 last month that even if Hixon receives the full amount in response to the claim he filed against the state, he won't be able to pay his bills.
"Friends of Ryan would like to ask our community to at least match the State cap and stand behind him due to a government system that does not have to be responsible to do the right thing when they were at fault. He has lost wages of five months and growing, he will never recapture the time lost as a new father that could not hold his baby, the things he still cannot do around his home, and so many things that has changed his life forever."
So far, the page has raised more than $1,500.
PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 has obtained a copy of the claim, filed by Ryan Hixon's attorneys last week.
In the claim, which was filed with the Tennessee Claims Commission, Hixson's attorney notes that his car was totaled when a concrete bridge barrier fell onto the interstate.
"TDOT failed to make a complete and comprehensive inspection, and to warn motorists of the impeding danger," the claim states, referring to the call a woman made three days prior to report debris falling from the bridge.
The claim details Hixon's significant injuries, the surgeries that followed, and possible procedures that will be needed in the future.
"His medical bills are in excess of $100,000 and collection agencies have already begun pursuing him for payment," the claim states.
"He will need continued medical care in the future and may require additional surgery on his eye if the dizziness does not resolve. Obviously, Mr. Hixon cannot work at this time, though he had just started a new job as a FedEx driver. He will continue to need medical care and may be disabled from working due to the negligence of TDOT. Mr. Hixon is a responsible adult and it is extremely upsetting to him to see medical bills marked "Final Notice". An accident, which was in no way his fault, has upended his life, both financially and emotionally."
Hixon's wife has also filed a claim for damages. The state has 90 days to respond to the claims, which ask for $600,000 in damages -- the maximum amount under Tennessee law.
PREVIOUS STORY: We're learning the man severely injured in the partial bridge collapse on I-75 in April could receive a payout that won't cover the cost of his medical bills.
The attorneys representing Ryan Hixon filed a claim against the state last week.
"He's gone through a second eye surgery recently. Unfortunately, he's still having some double vision and some dizziness but every day is getting a little bit better for him," James Exum said.
Exum is one of the attorneys representing Hixon.
He filed a claim with the Tennessee Claims Commission on behalf of the 30-year-old and his wife.
"Tennessee Department of Transportation, we filed a claim with them and basically we set out what we're alleging happened in this matter with the side of the railing falling off and falling onto Ryan's car," he said.
But there's a limit to what the state could have to pay.
State law limits settlements to $300,000 per person.
Meaning the most the couple could receive is $600,000.
The state now has to decide between three options: Fulfill the claim, reach an agreement or decide not to pay.
"If we haven't reached an agreement or if they decide that they're not going to pay the claim, we'll then file suit against the Tennessee Claims Commission," Exum said.
The state has 90 days to decide between those three options.
Channel 3 reached out to the Tennessee Department of Treasury.
They tell us when a claim amount exceeds $25,000, which it does in this case, the claim is turned over to the state Attorney General's Office for investigation.
We will continue to follow this story and pass along any updates.
PREVIOUS STORY: Channel 3 has confirmed that attorneys representing the man severely injured in the partial bridge collapse on I-75 have filed a claim against the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Ryan Hixon continues to recover from the injuries he sustained when he crashed into a portion of a concrete beam that fell onto the interstate back in April.
Hixon's attorneys filed a claim with the Tennessee Claims Commission on Friday.
"It's basically a description of how the accident happened, a description of his injuries, it has a location and it has some other personal information," Exum told Channel 3. "But it's just enough to get the ball rolling at this point that we do have a claim and they can start investigating."
Exum says there's a limit to what the state could have to pay.
State law limits settlements to $300,000 per person.
Attorney James Exum says he filed the claim for both Hixon and his wife, which would cap the possible payout at $600,000.
The state has 90 days to decide between three options. They can fulfill the claim, work out an agreement, or decide they aren't going to pay it. If that happens, Exum says they can file a lawsuit against the Tennessee Claims Commission.