What to do if my car was damaged last weekend by a snowplow in an apartment complex?

The apartment management filled out forms and told my son to call the landscaping company it hired to clear the snow. That company has been unresponsive to several messages left by my son. If they don’t respond, can I hold the apt. complex responsible since they hired the landscaping company to clear the snow?

Asked on February 14, 2013 under Accident Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the landlord (apartment complex) for negligence because an employer is liable for the negligence of an employee which occurs during the course and scope of employment.  The landlord is liable for the negligence of its employee, the landscaping company.  You should name both the landlord and landscaping company as defendants in your lawsuit for negligence.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.

Prior to filing a lawsuit, it may be possible to settle the case with the insurance carrier for the landscaping company.  Since the landscaping company is nonresponsive in providing their insurance information, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit for negligence naming both the landlord and landscaping company as defendants.

However, if the landscaping company is NOT an employee of the landlord, but an independent contractor, then the landlord is NOT liable for the negligence of an independent contractor.  Under those circumstances, your lawsuit for negligence would only name the landscaping company as a defendant.

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