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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lawyer
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do i have a legal obligation here- I put my shopping cart

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do i have a legal obligation here-
I put my shopping cart back against the building outside a grocery cart. it was stationary but was not in the line of pushed together carts.
i then put my bag on my bike, was putting on my helmet, and sometime while my back was turned, the cart rolled across the sidewalk into a parked car.
there was a small dent from the grocery cart on the side of the car over the front tire.
a man got out of the car, was all upset at "what I had done" and blamed this completely on me.
while I agreed that I didnt put the cart back perfectly, and apologized, he demanded my contact information which I gave to him.
i did not want a confrontation. i said if he wants to get a quote to get the dent straighted out, he can email me and we can talk.
is it my fault that the cart rolled and dented his car making me liable, or is this "an act of god'/ just life in a city with sidewalks that are not perfectly level??
if the cart had rolled a few minutes later after I was gone, I dont know how he could have considered me at fault (and I would have been gone none the wiser)
thank you
thank you

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

What it really comes down to is whether it was reasonable to leave the cart up against the side of the building. If you knew that the sidewalk was not level, and that the cart was in a place where it could roll into other cars (or a reasonable person should have known that), then you could be liable for repairs. If it was a windy day, such that a cart left would be likely to be blown into vehicles, that also could make it your fault. If a jury finds that a reasonably prudent person would have taken the cart all the way to the front of the store or to a cart return area, then any person who leaves a cart elsewhere could be liable. It is entirely possible that a judge or jury would find that someone who is being reasonably careful would secure the cart so that it couldn't roll or be blown into a car and cause damage. It's just too foreseeable that leaving the car in the lot can cause a problem - that's why most stores post disclaimers in the parking lots that say they're not liable for damage caused by carts.

The fact that no one would have known you left the cart had the incident happened later is unfortunately not legally relevant. If a person is liable for damages caused, it's not a defense that the person shouldn't have been found out.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.

Good luck.
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