During a snowstorm, one unfortunate occurrence is when a plow driver accidentally hits a mailbox while clearing the roads. It's a situation that can be upsetting for homeowners, but what many may not realize is who is responsible for covering the cost of the damage.

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For those sitting behind the wheel of a plow, hitting a mailbox or clipping a car mirror is undoubtedly a nightmare scenario. Unfortunately, it's also a relatively common accident that can happen due to the size and limited visibility of the plow.

The noise generated by the plow blades further complicates the situation, as the driver may not even be aware that they have hit something while working to clear the snow-covered roads. However, the real question at hand is who bears the financial burden of the damage caused by a snow plow.

Taking a logical approach, let's assume that your mailbox is properly positioned per local laws and regulations. It would seem reasonable to expect that the city or state would take responsibility for repairing or replacing your damaged property. However, the reality is not so straightforward.

According to the New York State Senate, if a mailbox is clipped by the blade of a snowplow, the responsibility for the damage falls on the property owner. While this may seem unfair, it's important to note that this is the stance outlined by state law. However, the language surrounding this issue is somewhat vague, leaving room for interpretation.

You might wonder about the role of local municipalities in handling such situations. While they have the discretion to assist with repairs, they are not legally required to do so based on New York State law. Consequently, many municipalities choose not to cover the costs associated with mailbox damage caused by snowplows.

For instance, in the Town of Binghamton, "The Town will repair or replace mailboxes and posts only if after an inspection has deemed the damage was caused by our plows."

So what can homeowners expect from their local municipality if their mailbox is knocked over by a snowplow? It varies from case to case, as different municipalities may have different policies in place. Some may offer to repair the mailbox but not replace it entirely, while others may leave the responsibility entirely to the property owner.

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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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