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LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
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I pulled into a fast food restaurant in Florida that had

Customer Question

I pulled into a fast food restaurant in Florida that had yellow "bumpers" installed to keep you from going into the parking space in front of you. When leaving I heard a crunching noise and got out of the car to find that there was a piece of rebar sticking up from the bumper that my bumper had snagged on. I reported it to the manager on duty who filled out an incident report and sent to their corporate office. After much bugging of the company to respond to me their insurance company denied my claim for the repair damages ( over $800) to my car. They stated that this had never happened to this particular restaurant before so they had no prior notice of the problem and therefore they were not liable to pay the damages. When I advised that I planned to take them to small claims court in my county they stated that this issue of not having prior notice of the problem was a well founded legal principle and that the judge would find in favor of the defendant. Is this true? They can have an unsafe condition in their parking lot and the poor slob who is first "injured" has no recourse but to accept the cost of repairs? If I lose this small claims case will I have to pay for the lawyer that they send into town to answer my small claims action? Also, the rebar that was sticking up was painted yellow, same as the bumper, making it not clearly visible when you pulled into the parking space.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. Their argument does have some merit but does not mean that they will succeed on the defense of the claim. I say this because they do have a duty to inspect the premises to see and make sure there are not any known, present or clear dangers, which could result in an accident or damage. Since the parking lot is under their control, they should examine it and make sure there are not issues like this and have a duty to maintain it. Just because they did not know about it ( as a result of it not happening before), does not mean they can simply avoid exercising duty care and making sure the parking lot is safe and there is nothing present which could cause damages. If you do sue and lose, they can ask the Judge to award them attorney fees, for having to defend this claim, so you do need to be aware of that. What you may want to do, is go back and take pictures, if you have not done so already and consult with a local attorney who may be willing to take the case on your behalf. This way, they can better assess it and if you do prevail, you could go after them for attorney fees as well.

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 1 year ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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