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Re: Car Damage

Posted by DK on September 20, 1999 at 15:40:15:

In Reply to: Car Damage posted by Brenda on September 20, 1999 at 15:17:18:

: Hello,

: I live in New York (Manhattan)in a rent controlled or stablized project. Yes I do have a written lease. My problems is due to the storm (well in part)a tree fell on my car. I believe it fell sometime Thursday. I went to work like normal on Friday, upon returning home that evening i witness a couple of men by my Car. (Which is legally parked on the project's property, and I do pay monthly for). Someone from housing had already cut most of the tree but the tree is still hanging over my trunk. The damage included: the roof have very big dents, the wind shield is shattered and has a hole in it, the passenger back side is dented in. If the tree is not removed it will eventually fall on the back. I want to know who is responsible for the damage. Management never called me at work to let me know what happened. this is not a small tree that should have been uprooted. Nor was it up rooted, the tree appeared to have cracked because it is totally unhealthy. can someone please write back and tell me what course to take. thank you

The issue you raise is whether your car was damaged because of negligence. In order for you to win a case proving negligence, you must show that there was a failure to perform a duty, that the failure to perform caused damage, and that the damage was the direct result (proximately caused by) the failure to perform.

Let's look at your case: the landlord has a duty to inspect the trees and keep them in good repair. If the tree was rotted, a reasonable landlord would have taken steps in advance of a big wind storm to prune or remove the tree. In your case, you argue that the landlord's failure to take these reasonable steps caused the damage to your car.

What do you do? Take pictures. Don't waste your time with the landlord's insurance company, it will only pay if you sue. Instead, go to small claims court on the third floor at 111 Centre Street. Fill out the summons form and pay the fee. (It will take about 1/2 an hour and will cost less than $15.) You will get a court date in four weeks.

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