Yesterday, an attendant accidentally placed an SUV in reverse when he was delivering the vehicle to the owner waiting on the street. The vehicle crashed through a window and plunged three floors to an adjoining courtyard. The customer’s Mercedes Benz was a total loss.
In this case, the garage would be liable to the vehicle owner. The garage, especially one which has attendants park and deliver the cars, has the duty of reasonable care to make sure that the vehicle is not damaged while it is in the garage’s care, custody, and control.
The transaction of leaving one’s car with a parking garage is called a bailment under the law. The courts have held that once the property owner entrusts his property to the “bailee”, the bailee has the obligation to return the property in the same condition.
Therefore, this unlucky SUV owner has a clear right of recovery against the garage.
If you have either a new or luxury vehicle it is prudent to carry your own comphrensive insurance to cover property damage and the cost of renting a substitute vehicle. By carrying your insurance you will obtain a recovery faster than by pursuing a liability claim and case against the garage’s insurance carrier.
We have handled many property damage cases involving motor vehicles as well as insurance disputes involving the insurance company’s refusal to pay property damage claims. If you have had a property loss, please feel free to call us at 800-581-1434.
Mark E. Seitelman, 4/21/09, www.seitelman.com.