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I am a entrepreneur who rented a garage in an area that has…

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I am a young...

I am a young entrepreneur who rented a garage in an area that has a number of garages. I do collision repair. A fire occurred in one of the adjoining garages. The fire damage a car I was working on. Turns out that the business owner of the adjoining garage that caught on fire had no insurance. The owner of the car had no insurance. The owner of the garages had no insurance and neither did I. Who is liable in this instance for damages to the car?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Missouri

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

Nothing but contact the owners of the garage to see if they had insurance as well as the business people where the fire started. They both told me they had no insurance

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The woman that damn the woman whose car is damaged says she's contacting a lawyer

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 9 hours by:
3/29/2018
Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
Attorney Wendy
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1,192
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. First, this is a very unfortunate situation and I am sorry you are dealing with it. Who is ultimately legally responsible for the damage to your customer's car is a little tricky. As the person/business who had possession of the car, the owner will likely look first to you and you will be responsible since the car is in a different condition (damaged) now than when it was entrusted to you. Whether you have insurance or not does not change whether you are responsible or liable for the damages, but there are others who may share that liability or who may actually be liable to you. Those people include the person renting the garage where the fire broke out, but only IF that person was somehow negligent and the negligence caused the fire. The same analysis could apply to the owner of the actual garages.

With no insurance to cover the damages, one option is to discuss with the owner of the garages and the renter of the adjoining garage, if they will contribute any funds to cover the damages to the car. If the car's owner sues you or files a claim with her own insurance and they pay for the damages - they may then sue you and these others - it becomes harder, but impossible to settle the matter without a trial. So, any efforts you can make to try to make this right for your customer will be important for you and your new business. This is true for the other businesses involved, who also have no insurance, as they would likely become part of any legal claim. So, trying to resolve this quickly and before it gets too legally involved would be to everyone's advantage.

This would also be a good time to look for some insurance. A CGL - commercial general liability - policy is often less expensive than new business owners realize and it can save a lot of headaches in situations like these. It obviously won't help with this incident, but it will help if anything happens in the future.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this email. If I answered your question and provided excellent service, I would greatly appreciate your 5 star rating at this time.

Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action is being proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as a result of this conversation.

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Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

I wanted to check back in to see if there was anything else with which I could help you regarding this issue.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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