What are my rights if my car was damaged in a car wash?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are my rights if my car was damaged in a car wash?

I took my 2015 GMC pickup through an auto car wash that I use all the time with no problems one day going through the truck drove off the tracks and one of the wash arms smashed my Fender and my bumper now the carwash will not take care of it saying it was no problem of theirs I’m just wondering is it or isn’t it they keep telling me to just turn it into my insurance company I feel they should be responsible. Is this something I should pursue in small claims court or not?

Asked on February 1, 2017 under Accident Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It's their fault--and their financial responsibility or liability--if they actually were at fault: that is, if the truck went off the rails because of a fault in their equipment or because their staff operated the machinery wrong or drove the truck onto the rails badly. But if not their fault--for example, their machinery operated fine, and *you* drove the truck onto the track, so that if it was misaligned and came off, it was your fault--they are not liable. 
To win money from them in small claims, you would have to have evidence--not just assumptions or guesswork--proving by a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not) that they were at fault.

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