Entering a city owned and managed parking garage

As I was pulling into the entrance of my parking garage, at a reasonable speed, I slowly slid into the gate. The gate still worked and had minor damage. My vehicle also had minor damage just a dent on the hood. I expect the damage to my car is roughly $600 if I were to bring it to a body shop. It snowed about two days ago and there was still snow in front of the gate/entrance. I would expect that it is the responsibility of the city who manages the garage to have the snow cleared properly plowed and salted. I’m wondering who is at fault for this and if it is the city, am I entitled to any compensation for this incident.

Asked on January 22, 2019 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If they had two days to remove the snow, they are likely responsible: they, like any property owner, must take "reasonable" steps to keep property safe, and removing snow from a parking lot, where it could cause an accident, before two days has passed seems reasonable. That said, if they won't voluntarily pay you compensation--the $600 you expect the repairs to cost (you are only entitled to your actual costs or losses)--you'd have to sue, and suing the city is always more procedurally complex and time consuming than suing a private entity; you'd have to decide whether a lawsuit is actually worthwhile.

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