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To make a claim for damage (including personal injuries) against the City of Rochester, New York, state law requires you to take the following steps:
  1. Within 90 days of the event that caused the damage, you must write a notarized letter to the City of Rochester. In most cases, state law prohibits the City from paying a claim served after 90 days. Your claim must be in English or accompanied by an English translation and affidavit of the translator stating his/her qualifications and that the translation is accurate (CPLR Section 2101(b)).
  2. Your letter must contain:
    1. Your name and address; your attorney’s name and address (if you are being represented by an attorney at this time);
    2. Time, date and place of the event. BE SPECIFIC: e.g., “broken sidewalk in front of 30 Church Street” or “northwest corner of Church and Fitzhugh.” Just stating “Church Street” is too general.
    3. Describe the damage or injury, and tell how the injury happened. If property damage is involved, describe property; give license plate number and State of registration for cars and other vehicles.
  3. Your signature on the letter must be witnessed by a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds (most banks provide Notary Public services).
  4. Your letter must be served either in person, or by certified or registered mail, on the Corporation Counsel, Room 400A, City Hall, 30 Church Street, Rochester, New York 14614. *
Although not required, it would help us handle your claim if you also included as much of the following information as possible:
  • Your telephone number at home and at work.
  • Itemized repair bills, or itemized estimates; medical and hospital bills; and any other evidence that supports the amount of your damage. Send any documents you have within 90 days. DO NOT wait beyond 90 days to send in your claim letter, even if you do not have all of your bills.
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses.
  • Any other information about the event that you can recall.
  • Dates, name of Court, Judge and disposition of any court appearance related to the claim.

Please remember that the law allows the City to pay only for damages caused by City operations. Also, the City can pay only to repair or replace damaged property with comparable materials. For these reasons, accurate and honest estimates or repair bills are essential, and you should get them from a qualified person with a good reputation. Please note that the City is not required to pay for damages resulting from a defect in a street or sidewalk (such as a pothole or a crack) unless the City Engineer was notified of the defect, in writing, before the damage occurred and had a reasonable time to fix it.

*Service can also be made on the City Treasurer, Room 111A; City Clerk, Room 301A; Director of Finance Room, 109A or the Mayor, Room 307A.