pulling into a agency driveway housing for disabled.

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pulling into a agency driveway housing for disabled.

I am a case manager for the state health homes. I was pulling into what looked like a residential house but is owned by a bigger city services company and

right before the sidewalk, the driveway was damaged dug up. This caused me to bottom out and mess up my car’s front bumper. I went into the house and told one of the staff. She stated that the house’s director has been fighting with the city to fix it now for awhile and the van bottoms out all the time. However, the sidewalk is fine, it’s the driveway before the sidewalk that is messed up. It happened on today, Friday, at the end of the day, so I was not able to contact anyone in charge at the time. I want to be well prepared when Monday comes around and know what my rights are. I told my employer because I was working at the time and a little upset. Who’s going to have to pay me – my employer or city services?

Asked on February 10, 2017 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, your employer has *no* obligation or liability here: you may have been working, but an employer does not "insure" it's employees' property, including vehicles; the employer is only liable for damage if the employer itself caused the damage, which your employer did not do. 
It is possible city services is liable IF they were aware of the damage to the driveway, had a reasonable amount of time or opportunity to fix it but, despite having such an opportunity to deal with the problem, failed to do so, and if you can prove that it was the driveway issue, and not how you were driving (e.g. it was not the case that you were driving to fast) that caused the damage. In this scenario, there is a reasonable chance that if they decline to voluntarily compensate you, that you could sue and win--though be aware that there are special requirements and a shorter time frame for suing a city agency, so you would have to move aggressively to sue them if it looks like they won't voluntarily pay, and take extra pains to make sure you have complied with all procedural and paperwork requirements.


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