Snow plow damage: Who’s responsible?

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A messy New England winter can cause trouble on the roads, and even on your own property.

So who’s responsible if a plow truck accidentally damages something of yours?

If the damage was caused by the DPW or a city contracted plower, the city’s insurance company would handle the claim, but some people are not quick to point the blame.

Plow trucks, and the men and women who drive them, work hard to keep the roads safe. They often work long hours.

Meg Kelsey Wright lives in Northampton. “We’re very very appreciative to all that they do and the many hours that they put in. So thank you.”

However, plowing isn’t perfect, and accidents can happen. So who’s responsible?

John Field lives in Fl0rence. “Things like that are an inevitable part of life. You can’t blame other people who are doing hard work for things that happen so I suppose I’d be responsible for it.”

But the city of Northampton has a claims process. Lets say a DPW or contracted plow truck knocks over your mailbox, or hits your fence. You have 30 days to file a personal property damage claim with the city. It’s reviewed by the insurance company, who if deemed responsible, will reimburse you.

Ned Huntley is the city of Northampton’s Director of Public Works. “If it’s curb damage. Typically in the Spring we’ll fix curb damage. If it’s loam and seed where we damage lawns or miss part of the roadway and dug up a lawn, that’s what we take care of in the Spring.”

One thing that you can do to help plow drivers out, is to buy one of these wooden stakes that you can pick up at your local hardware store. You can get it 6, 8 or even 10 feet tall, paint the tip a florescent color to make it visible, and then drive it into the ground on the edge of your property line.

Huntley told 22News so far this year, there’s been only two mailbox claims.

Up until last year, the city gave away $50 vouchers for damaged mailboxes, but this year everyone has to submit a claim.

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