What can I do about the carwash damage? 17 Answers as of April 16, 2013

I went through an unattended automatic car wash and the track picked up my back tire but not the front tire therefore pushing my car sideways into the wash and then into a pole inside the wash. The owner is saying there isn't any proof and he has video but it doesn't "prove" that's what happened. I went and got 3 quotes and he doesn't want to pay. Additionally, there are NO signs that say "enter at your own risk" Isn't he responsible? Help!

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Lydy & Moan | C. Gary Wilson
You can file suit for damages.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/16/2013
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
It depends on whether you can prove the machine was defective. Your best bet is to file a collision claim with your car insurance and let them worry about getting their money back. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/15/2013
Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law
Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Alison Elle Aleman
The owner may be trying to dodge responsibility, but I would still try to hold him responsible. The footage from his camera is very important. Try to get the assistance of an attorney who can request this footage before the owner "loses" it or otherwise destroys it. Most owners have insurance that can cover damage caused by their business. An insurance adjustor may be able to see how the damage occurred at the car wash by carefully examining your vehicle. So ask for the name of the business insurer and put in a claim for the damage, so that the insurer has to respond to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2013
Midway Law
Midway Law | Joseph I. Silverzweig
I think you have a reasonably good case against the automatic car wash, depending on what you can see on the videos. You may also have a case against the company who created the car wash machinery. At this point, you have two options. Option one: you could seek out an attorney who will take this case on contingency, meaning they will take a percentage of the award after expenses. They will handle the entire process and just write you a check at the end, if the case resolves successfully. If they lose the case, they won't take any money. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find an attorney who will take an unusual case like yours, but you can usually find someone (so long as you suffered substantial damages). Personally, it sounds to me like something worth taking a look at. Option two: you could attempt to handle this matter yourself by writing a demand letter and filing and action in small claims court. You wouldn't have to pay any attorneys fees at the end of the process, but oftentimes trying to do something yourself results in a substantially lower claim. For example, I have a client who filed a claim in small claims court himself, asking for two thousand dollars in damages. Once he hired me, I was able to re-examine the situation and found $40,000 in damages that he could have claimed. If you want to write a demand letter, this website is an excellent guide: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/small-claims-book/chapter6-4.html .
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/15/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Your case is what the Judge Judy court (small claims) was designed to deal with. Sue the rascal. Take photos and estimates and tell the judge.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 4/15/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    He could have signs all over the place, signs mean nothing, signs cannot waive liability, you have two (2) options retain a good attorney which will cost you, but you may be able to recoup the fees in an action, or file a small claims action on your own, but you will need evidence of your damages, and that said damages were caused by the owners negligence. Evidence is not the quotes to repair your vehicle, evidence is the proof showing that the owner is liable for your damages and that he/she was at fault, I or no one else on these sites can teach you the rules of evidence, that is why you either retain counsel, or start doing some heavy duty research on the rules of evidence in hopes of at least, to not make a fool of yourself at a hearing.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Write him and demand a copy of his liability insurance policy. Florida law requires him to give it to you. Cite him Section 627.4137, Florida Statutes. The adjuster for his insurance company might want to take care of it to avoid a lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Gregory M Janks, PC
    Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
    I wonder who picks the "category" of the question? The person asking or the Law Q&A folks? There are so many questions that indicate that they are a "personal injury" question that clearly are not. This is one of such. The problem is that personal injury lawyers, such as myself, handle personal injury cases, but not property damage cases, slander cases, real estate cases, landlord tenant cases, etc. and many, many questions are not in the category that we know anything about, despite indications that they are "pi" questions. Since we take valuable time to answer questions as a public service, it is somewhat disconcerting as it takes time to sift through questions that indicate they are "pi" questions, when they are not, and that we can't provide an answer for.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    He likely is, but I haven't heard his side of it and whether there is any evidence that he can present that it is your fault. You can sue him and the court will determine who is at fault.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Find out who his insurance carrier is and make a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You may have to file suit to get his attention.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Sue them. Small claims probably. BTW, an "enter at your own risk" sign would have no effect, you can't assume the risk of someone else's negligence.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    The Law Offices of Ajay Kwatra | Ajay Kwatra
    It sounds like your damages are something in the range of recovery in small claims court. Call your local County Superior Court. They should have someone there to help you with this process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Get a lawyer and sue him. It is like arguing with a cop by the side of the road to talk him out of a ticket. You won't win. Take it to a judge or a jury.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    If you can prove that you entered the car wash properly, he should be liable. Send a written demand that he pay and tell you the identity of his insurance company. Send a demand to the insurance company. If they won't cooperate, file a lawsuit in Justice Court or small claims court if the damages are less than $10,000.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/15/2013
    Law Offices of William S. Lindheim | Fred Fong
    If the damage to your car was caused by the machinery of the premises, then you can recover damages on the theory of premises liability.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/14/2013
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