The State University of New York, as a State agency, does not carry liability insurance. However, a procedure has been developed for handling small claims. Environment, Health & Safety processes small claims filed against the University for recovery of damages less than $5,000.00.
This small claim process may only be used by claimants age 18 or older.
All small claims must be filed within 90 (ninety) days of the
date the alleged incident occurred. An EH&S Incident Report
must be submitted to initiate the process. The completed Incident
Report Form should be faxed to the EH&S Small Claims
Administrator at 716-829-2704 or mailed to 220 Winspear Avenue,
Buffalo, NY 14215 IMMEDIATELY following an incident. It is
advisable to include additional supporting documentation (e.g.,
police reports, photographs, charts, maps, and diagrams) clearly
explaining the incident and why you believe the University is
responsible. If you are mailing photographs, please write your full
name, incident date, item description, and location of incident on
the reverse side. Claims for damages sustained to a personal
vehicle require a minimum of 2 (two) estimates. If your personal
vehicle is involved in an accident with a State vehicle, please
contact the Fleet Management Office at 716-645-2028 ext. 226.
After submitting the Incident Report, you may be contacted by the EH&S Small Claims Administrator, University Services, or University Police for additional information. You should not discuss with, or provide information to, anyone other than the above-mentioned offices. The information you provide may assist the University in preventing future incidents. Completion of the Incident Report does not guarantee that your incident will be accepted as a claim. In the event that it is accepted as a claim, you will be asked to submit additional information. The EH&S Small Claims Administrator will subsequently mail 5 (five) SUNY Claim and Release forms to be completed, signed, and notarized.
The basis for a small claim is negligence on the part of the State University of New York at Buffalo. In the context of small claims, “negligence” is defined as the careless act or omission of a State employee carrying out his/her official duty. The University is not liable for damages that occur accidentally or as the result of natural causes or an “Act of God”; nor is the University liable for damages which occur because of the actions of students, independent contractors, consultants, or others.
The State is not automatically responsible for bills (e.g., medical, repairs) simply because the incident occurs on its premises or as a result of operations. It is your responsibility to fulfill your financial obligations.
Questions? Call EH&S at 716-829-3301.