WATCH: If your property has been damaged and you think the municipality is at fault, you can file a claim with the city. But is it worth it? Jennifer Palisoc reports.
TORONTO – Did a pothole wreak havoc on your car? Did a piece of the Gardiner Expressway smash your windshield? You can make a claim against the city to cover the cost of repairing your car.
The city also has a website to walk you through the steps of getting paid.
Councillor Jaye Robinson says the website is easy to use and accessible, but admits the time it takes for the city to process a claim can be time-consuming.
“The limited experience I have with it, it tends to be a bit of a lengthy process. Just my residents that have to go through it, they’ve often mentioned it’s lengthy,” she said. “I’d like to see it expedited and accelerated, because it’s frustrating when you’re trying to find out if you’re compensated.”
One of the reasons for that, according to the city of Toronto website, is a claim against the city sparks an internal investigation to figure out whether city staff have been negligent.
And you’ll only be reimbursed should the city be negligent.
How much time do I have?
If the claim relates to roads or sidewalks in Toronto, the city’s website advises you should submit the claim within 10 days of the incident.
What do I include in a claim?
The city’s website includes a list of everything that you should include with a claim.
Be sure to include your name, home address and contact information, the date, time and place where the accident occurred, a photo of the accident location, a description of what happened, a description of the property damage, documentation, and why the city’s at fault.
Proof is important. So as well as photos, be sure to include any records, receipts, at least two estimates on repair costs and invoices.
After submitting your claim, the city will investigate and determine whether it’s to blame. But don’t get your hopes up.
A 2011 ombudsman report noted the city denies approximately 96 per cent of pothole-related claims.
Why is it the city’s fault?
The city website suggests people explain why they think the city’s negligence led to the damage.
The city has a duty to provide a “reasonable standard of care” and if they failed at this, your claim might be accepted.
If the city decides it has been negligent, only then will they attempt to resolve your claim and the details provided will factor in the investigation.
– With files from Jennifer Palisoc