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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:17 PM
Location: near Cary High School/Cary Towne Mall
237 posts, read 927,509 times
Reputation: 370


Since Friday, we've been plowing snow from businesses, churches, and driveways all around the area to stay ahead of the freeze/thaw cycle so activities could continue. We've seen various plows from city, county, state agencies and a few contracted vendors working for the various municipalities.

In our travels, we've literally seen hundreds of mailboxes/mailbox posts that have been destroyed by the snowplows and couldn't help but wonder: "Who is responsible for this?" In some developments, these designer mailboxes and posts cost more than $1,000.

If you don't have a box, the postal letter carrier will not leave the mail. Anybody know who has to pay for the replacement mailbox or post?
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:43 PM
69 posts, read 137,510 times
Reputation: 57
This is why you don't buy $1k mailboxes.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:26 PM
Location: Midtown Raleigh
1,074 posts, read 2,622,680 times
Reputation: 942

In many subdivisions (especially newer ones) there is only one style of accepted mailbox as per the HOA covenants. It is not uncommon for them to cost $400, $600, or $800, plus installation in concrete. If you put in a cheap one from the hardware store, you will be in violation of the covenants and will have to change it.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:40 PM
Location: Raleigh, NC
11,564 posts, read 25,185,054 times
Reputation: 7651
Now I wonder...wouldn't the city be responsible for they are plowing the streets and they hit your mailbox? If it is a private company doing the plowing, wouldn't they be responsible if they damage private property?

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Old 02-04-2010, 08:46 PM
Location: near Cary High School/Cary Towne Mall
237 posts, read 927,509 times
Reputation: 370
We saw trucks with decals from various municipalities (Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Wake County and DOT along with private trucks contracted by some of these municipalities.

We were amazed that they plowed up the little reflectors mounted on top of the dotted white lane lines. And, on occasion, they plowed the white vinyl stripes right off the asphalt!! Check the right shoulder of any county or state road and you will find little bits of reflector sparkling in your headlights.

My question has to do with who buys or repairs all those damaged mailboxes. Whether they cost $50 at Home Depot or $1,000 from Europe to meet a specific HOA requirement, somebody has to pay for that.

Who is responsible?
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:02 PM
6,155 posts, read 12,789,708 times
Reputation: 4355
Back in "snow country," I believe that those who damage the mailboxes are the ones who are responsible for paying for the damage. I don't know why it would be any different here.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:46 AM
971 posts, read 2,614,420 times
Reputation: 973
Default Catch 22.........

Generally speaking, if the mailbox is located so that it is convenient for use by the Postal Carrier, it is illegally located in the public road right-of-way and the Governmet owned snow plows are not responsible for any damage they cause to the illegally located object.

If you install your mailbox in the public right-of-way in such a manner that it can withstand the impact of a fast moving plow truck,i.e. 4-inch steel pipe support, brick or stone enclosure, etc., YOU are responsible for all damage caused to the truck as result of the collision between the plow truck and your mail box.

The only real solution is an inexpensive mail box mounted on an inexpensive post located at the limit of reasonable accessiblility for the postal carrier.

It sucks to live in the snow belt.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:51 AM
Location: Poway, CA
2,691 posts, read 8,492,188 times
Reputation: 2152
i had mine replaced a bit ago (no snow plow, just old age) and this exact question came up with the woman from my HOA who took the order. she said so many people have tried to get the city/county/whatever to buy them a new box, but no luck. i don't know if that means it's not the driver's fault or if the city just waves their magic wand to make the responsibility go away, but she said the homeowner always ends up paying for it.

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Old 02-05-2010, 06:25 AM
Location: Triad
6 posts, read 25,188 times
Reputation: 13
When I was a teenager and living "North" our mailbox got hit often, perhaps 2-3x /year. The county/city didn't replace any. Solution: My dad built a "swinger" that utilized a long steel arm mounted to swivel on a post set back from the road. A plate on the left side protected the mailbox, and a spring was attached to the back. When the plow hit it, it'd swing out of the way about 2' before the spring would pull it back into place. After that we never had any problems.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:43 AM
Location: Wake Forest (New Light area)
350 posts, read 1,102,591 times
Reputation: 237
Funny you should ask..... I was just online the other day researching "damage caused by snowplows" since on Saturday my yard was totally torn up by a plow that missed the curve in the road and went straight through a piece of my yard instead.

The NC DOT has a claim form for any property damage caused my plowing:
NCDOT: PDF Document

This didn't help me out in my case because the NC DOT wasn't the one who plowed my street, but might help someone else out.
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