Can both a casino and its valet company be held liable for totaling my vehicle?

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Can both a casino and its valet company be held liable for totaling my vehicle?

The valet driver at a casino i frequent totaled my car. The responding officer watched the casinos footage of the incident and determined that both the valet driver and the driver of the other vehicle involved were at fault. Apparently, they both didn’t stop appropriately. I was treated horribly and the rep for the casino actually asked me to see the color of my players card. Im assuming she determined how she would handle the situation based on how much money I spend there. After I showed my card and she saw that I wasn’t the highest status, she told me the casino is not responsible and walked inside. About 2 hours after the incident, I ended up leaving the establishment crying and walking because no one would assist me, refused to answer any of my questions, and wouldn’t even arrange me a ride home 2 hours away. It was 3 days before i received a phone call from anyone and and 4 days before i was in a rental. Now the valet company

is low balling me with an offer. Id like to know what kind of damages or expenses I am entitled to and can I sue all parties involved? including the establishment. Can I seek emotional distress compensation?

Asked on May 8, 2019 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) If the valet company is a separate business from the casino, the casino is not liable: someone hiring another business is not responsible for what that business's employees do, the same way that if you hire a moving company, you are not liable if the moving van has an accident while moving your belongings.
2) You cannot recover emotional distress in a property damage case.
3) The valet company and its driver (both are liable, and you could sue either or both) is liable for the then-current fair market value of your totaled car, for a reasonable rental cost for a reasonable amount of time (typically, the length of time it would take the average person who had some savings to buy or lease a new car--call it one to two weeks), and for other direct out of pocket costs you incurred due to this (like if you had to Uber home or cabs for a few days).
4) If you feel their offer is too low and that you can prove you are entitled to more, you could sue the company and/or driver, but be warned that even if you win everything you want, you will delay being paid by a few months up to more than a year as the lawsuit progresses; if you need the money now, a low ball offer may be better than waiting on a lawsuit.


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