Various local governments around Western New York may be hearing from people who are upset if their parked cars are struck by municipal snow plows.
Recently we have received several messages to our 2 On Your Side Tipline because people are upset that their claims for hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damages are denied.
It turns out the communities are backed up by the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Section 1103 basically grants immunity to plow operators and local governments unless it can be proven they acted with reckless conduct. Amherst Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones points out that DPW snowplows are regarded to be hazardous vehicles much like police cars or fire trucks and snow removal is deemed to be a public emergency situation.
Jones says it may be best to file a claim with your insurance carrier to see what they will cover. Otherwise some people may try small claims court but again the burden of proof of reckless conduct is on them.