Is there a way to recoup fund needed to fix my car related to a manhole cover in middle of street?

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Is there a way to recoup fund needed to fix my car related to a manhole cover in middle of street?

My car sustained damage from a manhole cover in the middle of the street. The man hole was open as well.

Asked on August 22, 2016 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF you can prove that either the manhole being open was the city's fault (e.g. that a city worker opened it and left it open, without, for example, putting cones or sawhorses or anything else around it to warn drivers off) or that some other person (e.g. a vagrant; a teen doing a stupid, dangerous prank) had opened it *and* that the city had notice that it was open (i.e. someone had phoned in a complaint) and enough time had passed since the city became aware of the problem that they could have reasonably been expected to have dispatched a crew or worker to correct it, then you can potentially recover the cost to repair your car. That is, you have to be able to show that the city did something wrong--that it was the city's fault in some way--to successfully sue them for compensation. You can start, of course, by contacting the city (e.g. the road department or the legal department) and requesting compensation for the damage, but if they will not voluntarily pay, you will have to sue--and prove the city's fault--to get anything.


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