Municipal Plows Protected from Liability

BUFFALO, NY - New York State pretty much shields municipalities from liability of their snow plows, even garbage trucks are in accidents.

"The individual or entity who is injured or has a property damage or injury has to show that the town acted in a reckless manner, higher than your average negligence matter," said John Flynn, Town of Tonawanda attorney.

A municipality is only liable if the plow driver was speeding or determined to be reckless, "but if not, the town is pretty much off the hook," said Flynn.

Last year the Town of Tonawanda had one accident involving a plow driver. A mirror was knocked off a car. The claim was denied.

According to officials in Cheektowaga, last year seven notice of claim were filed, six this year. In Amherst, two were filed last year and already five have been filed in 2013. "The first two months of this year, we've knocked down 351 mailboxes, that's not the carelessness of the drivers, because of the snow being heavy at times," mailboxes are knocked down. While they are not liable, Best says as a courtesy, Hamburg replaces the mailboxes.


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