What do I do if the city snowplow hits my mailbox? During a major weather event, snow and ice removal is the city’s top priority. While doing so, there is the possibility of property damage, which commonly includes mailboxes. Property owners are responsible for installing and maintaining mailboxes on roads in Indiana. In the event your mailbox is damaged by the city snowplow, do you know what steps to take for reimbursement? This blog will ensure you are knowledgeable on how to pursue a claim against the city.
WHAT DO I DO IF THE CITY SNOWPLOW HITS MY MAILBOX?
If there is damage to your mailbox from the city snowplow, you will need to replace the mailbox as soon as possible, so you are able to receive your mail. Then you will need to pursue a tort claim against the city. A tort claim is a civil claim where a party has damages due to the actions of another party who committed an act. If the city was negligent while removing snow and ice from the roadway and a mailbox was damaged, they are liable for the property damage. In the state of Indiana, per Indiana code 34-13-3, your tort claim against the city must be made in writing within 180 days of the loss.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR TORT CLAIM
For Marion County there is a form called “Notice of Tort Claim for Property and/or Personal Injury” that must be filled out and returned in person or registered/certified mail to the city’s building on East Washington Street. On this form you will provide details about the incident and also include the total amount of damages. If there is video footage (ring camera, etc) please retain it as soon as possible and mention that you have it on the form. I would suggest keeping a copy of your claim form, receipts for your replacement mailbox and the registered/certified mail receipt. More information regarding this process can be obtained by visiting: indy.gov
The Office of Corporation Counsel (OCC) will investigate and determine if payment will be issued within 90 days. By law, a claim is denied is denied if not settled in 90 days. It is recommended that you contact an attorney if you have questions about what to do if your claim is denied.
STEPS FOR THE FUTURE
To avoid damage to your mailbox in the future, there are steps that can be taken to help prevent damage. To mitigate damage, INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) recommends placing a mailbox as far from the edge of the roadway as the mail carrier can reach. By placing a mailbox far from the edge and mounting the mailbox on a sturdy support, it should be able to withstand the force of snow thrown from a snowplow. Place 6-8 inches of reflective tape on your mailbox to make it visible when dark. It is also recommended that you inspect your mailbox and make sure it is firmly supported in the ground. Please check for deterioration or tested posts and/or mounts. Clearing snow from the area near the mailbox can reduce the amount of snow coming off the plow and thus reduced the weight of snow on your mailbox.
SPEAK TO THE EXPERTS
At Conner Insurance, we have set the standard for superior guidance and exceptional service for more than 70 years. Contact us at (317) 808-7711 to speak to one of our advisors. We are located in Indiana and serve the whole state, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Carmel, Noblesville, Westfield, Fishers, Brownsburg, and Evansville. We also provide insurance and benefits to all fifty states.