Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We declare war on Kenmore

Remember that time back in December when that snowplow plowed into my car? When I was sitting at the light?

And the good-looking Kenmore cop said it was the village's fault and would be taken care of?

I get this missive from Traveler's Insurance, Kenmore's  insurers. These trolls write:

"The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law states that the rules of the road apply to all vehicles unless otherwise provided by law. However, according to State Statute (1103 (b) the rules of the road explicitly does not apply to "persons, teams, motor vehicles, and other equipment while actually engaged in work on a highway."

The Village of Kenmore is a public entity which was engaged in the clearing of snow from a roadway or highway and is therefore protected by NY State Vehicle & Traffic Law. Accordingly, we are unable to respond to your claim for damages."

I interpret this to mean, Kenmore plows, or any other Kenmore town vehicles, can just plow onto your car whenever their drivers feel like it and there is nothing to be done.

"Don't interpret it that way." That's what this woman in the Kenmore mayor's office told me just now.

Well, how else am I supposed to interpret it?

Any ideas?

It torques me off because you know me, I am so nice. I was so nice that night and made no waves and went and parked where the cop told me to park and accepted his explanations and smiled and trusted him. I am always so meek. And you know what, the meek might inherit the earth but that is in the next life, not this one. In this life the meek inherit this letter from Traveler's.

Speaking of which, do not quote Vehicle & Traffic Law to me, you know? Having spent that eternity on that Grand Jury I know Vehicle & Traffic Law the way Leonard Pennario knew his Chopin. I do not need these oiks quoting it to me.

I am declaring war on Kenmore. (Cue music.)

Beware going to Kenmore! I no longer feel safe there, let me say that right now.

You never know when they might want to plow into you, just because they can.

You never know!


Bill said...

VTL 1103(b) essentially provides that the snowplow has to have been operated with reckless disregard for the safety of others in order to be liable. This is a tougher (much tougher) standard than ordinary negligence.

There is an exception if the operator was drunk, or high.

Did the driver of the plow that hit you seem drunk or high? I wonder if he was tested. Did the police come to the scene? If you have a copy of the police report have a look and see if he was tested. Was there anything about this accident that seemed as though the driver was unusually careless? It doesn't sound like he was driving at an excessive rate of speed. Did he say anything that might suggest he was more than just careless?

Although this is one more example of why it is a good idea to stay out of Kenmore, it isn't just Kenmore. A Buffalo plow driver would be just as immune-- it's just that a lawyer from the Buffalo Corporation Counsel's office might not have looked up the law. Count on it, Kenmore always will.

Mary Kunz Goldman said...

Bill, thank you for the legal advice!! And for the sympathy. Maybe the law is on Kenmore's side but the way the village is applying it is just not right. Also, about the plow driver being tested, all I can think is that duh, of course he was not. Why would they test him? It wasn't as if I were insisting on it. I was being nice and believing what the policeman told me, that it was the village's fault and it would all be taken care of.

Fie on Kenmore.

Bill said...

Fie on Kenmore indeed, but please don't suggest that I am giving legal advice. Wouldn't think of it.

The Department of Transportation requires that operators with commercial drivers licenses be tested following accidents-- they are pretty strict about it. Whether these rules are applicable to municipal drivers is an interesting question, but if the driver wasn't tested than your ability to argue that the exception to VTL 1103(b) was prejudiced, and that is something that you might want to argue with Travelers about.