Filing a claim with the city maybe
November 1, 2012 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Messed up my car! City construction work was involved. What can I do?

My city is doing some work in the alley behind my house (something with pipes and drainage and digging up the ground). I have to use this alley to get to my parking spot. Because a city truck was in the way of my usual path to my spot, I had to maneuver around it and in the process I had scraped and dented by door pretty badly.

I talked to the guy who were working out there and they told me to call the "risk manager" who would process my claim if I wanted to file one.

My question is: what do I need to know and make sure to do to get the best possible result here? What should I expect? What are my rights? Do I need a lawyer? Should I call my insurance company? I have taken pictures of the damage, where I had to drive to maneuver around the truck, etc.

posted by AceRock to Law & Government (8 answers total)
If the city truck was stationary and your car was moving, then this is your fault and you will be paying for it (even if only indirectly through your insurance). That access to your parking space was blocked is not relevant. Just get an estimate from a reputable body shop and decide whether you'd prefer to pay cash, or go through your insurance, pay the deductible and also pay increased premiums for a few years.
posted by jon1270 at 9:33 AM on November 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

Did you ask the men to move their truck before you tried to maneuver around it, or did they signal for you to go around, or something? I think that would be the biggest impediment to getting a remedy based on what you've described.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:35 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Were they directing you maneuvering around the truck? If not, just file a claim through your own insurance, the city is not at fault.

If they were directing you, contact the city. Chicago has a 311 service, start there:
posted by effigy at 10:02 AM on November 1, 2012

Was worried but expecting you guys would say that. Thanks!
posted by AceRock at 10:03 AM on November 1, 2012

More than likely this will be on you, but I'd call the city first to file a claim.

When they had just put in the transponders at the toll plazas in Florida, I thought the arm would go up, but it didn't. I tore right through it!

I called the turnpike authority to fess up and see how much I owed. I moaned for a minute about how some go up without having to slow down, and other's don't and how is one to know. After they determined that I was calling about their damage, not mine, they laughed at me. I didn't have to pay a thing.

So, the point being, you never know until you ask.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:42 AM on November 1, 2012

I agree by all means file a claim with the city.

All they can do is deny it but there might be some outside chance that they'd give you something. It can't, in any way, hurt.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:54 PM on November 1, 2012

All they can do is deny it

Or they could turn around and file a claim against the OP for whatever damage may have been done to the city truck. As others have said, OP, if their vehicle was parked and yours was moving, you're at fault. As it is, it sounds like they don't have your name or contact information, and may be figuring that the damage to the truck was minimal enough that it's not worth the hassle to deal with. Color me cynical, but if you file a claim and give them your info, it makes it really easy for their insurance company to track you down.
posted by Lexica at 6:13 PM on November 1, 2012

Thanks again everyone. Just to be clear there was no damage to the city vehicle or any city property at all. The damage to my car was caused by a large rock hidden behind a bush that scraped against my car as I was maneuvering around the work the city was doing.
posted by AceRock at 11:32 AM on November 2, 2012

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