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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32770
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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In December 2014, my car was damaged by a Target employee in

Customer Question

In December 2014, my car was damaged by a Target employee in San Jose, Ca. Target has been largely unresponsive regarding this issue and I have had to almost harass them to get payment for the damages to my vehicle. I have asked them for $2,000 to cover the loss of income due to having to chase them round and round, losing working hours trying to get in contact with them. They have also not settled on an agreeable amount for covering the rental of a vehicle while mine is getting repaired. My car was brand new when an employee crashed a row of carts into the side of it and Target has agreed to cover the repair cost of $850 but is only offering $30/day for a rental car which does not cover the cost of renting a comparable car for the time the repairs will take. I have sent a formal letter to Target Claims and they replied back stating I have until next week to accept their offer or they will rescind it. How can I take them to small claims to recover not only the repair cost, but also the loss of income?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

I'm not sure what you mean by "how can I take them to small claims court". Are you asking how the process of a lawsuit works?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want to know how I can recover my lost wages and adequate rental costs. They have offered $943.18. $865.18 is how much the repair costs and they offered $39/day for two days of rental. The two days came from the estimate of time to repair on the estimate paperwork from a shop I went to. I called the shop and they told me I would need to drop it off on Monday evening and then it would be ready by Thursday Afternoon earliest, if not Friday. I communicated this with the claim rep who said they would only cover what was on the invoice. Still, $39/day is not anywhere near the estimate I have from Budget Car Rentals: for a week was $645.64, or $129 a day.I have sent them a letter demanding payment for damages, proper rental car coverage, and loss of wages but they have only come back with the same offer covering two days rental (at an absurdly low rate) and the repairs. How can I recover my loss wages and actual cost of rental?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You can recover the loss of use or the reasonable rental value of the same or similar vehicle in the lawsuit just by alleging it as an element of damages, assuming you can prove negligence on their part in the lawsuit.

That would normally require calling witnesses that can testify as to the amount of time the car was in the shop, the cost of the rental, etc. Usually that would be a witness from the body shop and then one from the rental agency.

As to wages, you can only recover the lost wages directly attributable to the damage but not the lost wages accumulated due to trying to recover your damages. As an example, if you were on your way to work and the car was wrecked to a degree that you couldn't get to work then you would be entitled to your wages for that day. If you have to take off work to pick the car up then those wages would be recoverable as well. However, the law doesn't have a provision in it to allow for you to recover for the time spent trying to get them to pay, etc. You can ask for it in the lawsuit and offer testimony about it but that is not an element of damages the law allows you to collect, although many of us feel it should be.

A lawsuit generally follows this process:

1) File the petition in the court with jurisdiction and venue. The court with jurisdiction and venue is usually where the defendant resides or has their place of business. You also have to look at the amount you intend to sue for to determine what court is correct

2) When you file the petition with the clerk of courts you will pay the filing fee and also ask for citation to be issued and service to be done. The clerk doesn't serve the papers so ask them if you have to take them to the sheriff's office for service or if they will do it. Just follow their directions as to that.

3) The sheriff will serve the defendant with the lawsuit.

4) The defendant will file their answer.

5) You can then do some discovery if necessary but you will need to check with the clerk and ask if your court allows discovery. Some small claims courts do not.

6) After that the next step is to set the case for trial.

7) During the trial you introduce your evidence and they introduce their's.

8) The judge renders a judgment and a written order is entered.

That is the basic process of a lawsuit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I toss out the demand for lost wages, how can I get them to agree to cover the cost of a rental car that is the same level as my vehicle?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

The only way to force them to do it is to sue them. You can try filing a complaint with the state insurance oversight agency but they usually don't do much.