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Ask Tina Your Own Question
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 8775
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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My wife was shopping in a major retailer here in Fla. and

Customer Question

My wife was shopping in a major retailer here in Fla. and was called to the front of thr store. The store's security had been on the lookout for a shoplifting ring, found them in the sdtore, and chased them out to their car, where the security guard tried to block them by standing in front of their car. The driver simply put the car in reverse, slammed on the gas and shot backwards about 50 ft and slammed into our car causing (so Far) $9300.00 of damage. The car may yet be totaled. The driver's car was a rental rented by her grandfather. The store's staff walked my wife out and showed her the car. The driver was arrested either that day or the next. Do I have a case?
JA: What state is this in? And how old is the car?
Customer: This is i Florida. The car is 8 months old with 5200 miles. My wife and I are both disabled and this was our retirement car.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: There's a police report and the car is at the repair facility where they are starting repairs, and there may be more damage once they take it apart more.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalPro54 replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome. I am very sorry to hear about this incident. You certainly have a case against the individual who backed up into you. The vehicle will be covered by an insurance policy because it is a rental and rental companies don't rent cars out without proof of valid insurance. The insurance information should be on the police report, so you should get a copy of it as soon as possible and file a claim. If you don't want to wait to get a copy of the police report and make a claim against the driver's insurance, you can go through your insurance. Your own insurance will repair or replace the car immediately for you, but of course you'll have to pay your deductible. You should get reimbursed for your deductible, though, once your insurance company makes a claim with the other driver's insurance and gets reimbursed for everything they paid on your behalf. So, you could look at this more like "fronting" the cost of your deductible, since you should wind up getting it back.

As for a case against the retailer, you would not typically have one because they are not responsible for the criminal acts of third parties. But it really isn't even necessary to examine this as a possibility, since the car that hit your vehicle will almost certainly be insured here, thus enabling you to be fully compensated for your damages. For an accident like this, it is not possible to recover "pain and suffering" damages or "stress" damages because you were not physically injured, so repair/replacement of your vehicle would be all you are legally entitled to anyway.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What about when I trade the car and they see it's almost been totaled? What about the retailer causing the accident?
Expert:  LegalPro54 replied 4 months ago.

You are entitled to compensation for the diminished value of the vehicle. In other words, if the car is now worth 9k instead of 10k because it was in an accident, you are entitled to 1k in addition to the cost of repairs. This is, of course, assuming the car is not simply totaled.

The retailer may have "caused" the accident in the sense that but for their actions the accident would not have occurred, but the law does not hold them responsible because the criminal acts of a third party are generally held to break any foreseeable chain of causation. Again, though, this really doesn't matter, because you don't need to hold the retailer liable to get fully compensated here. It's completely unnecessary to go after them even if there was a viable theory of liability, which there is not.