If a car wash will not pay for damages, what can I do?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a car wash will not pay for damages, what can I do?

I took my car to the car wash and upon exiting there was a crack down the middle of my windshield. The owner keeps telling me that they are no responsible for the crack because there was already a chip in my windshield and they car wash made the crack because of the chip. What are my options?

Asked on April 5, 2016 under Accident Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that they were at fault--that, for example, there was something wrong with their equipment and it cracked your window despite there being no pre-existing flaw or crack in it--you could sue them for the repair or replacement cost. To win, you'd have to convince a court by the "preponderance of the evidence"--that it is more likely than not--that the carwash caused the damage. You can use your testimony and that of anyone else who saw your car just before the wash, to try to convince the court there was no already-existing damage. For the likely amount of money at stake, suing in small claims court, as your own attorney ("pro se") to save on legal fees is a good option.

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