If my vehicle gets damaged on a job-site by another company’s equipment, who is responsible?

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If my vehicle gets damaged on a job-site by another company’s equipment, who is responsible?

My car was recently struck at a job site and was wondering if you could help me out. i was helping a friend re-shingle a roof and the dumpster we rented rolled into my car, (the damage was not that bad, but body shops are quoting the repair at near $1000). I called the owner of the dumpster and told him what happened and he said to get some quotes and get back to him. now he is saying that his insurance company wont cover it and after they drop the dumpster, any damage is up to the renter. I may have just sluffed it off and walked away, however, he did not properly secure the dumpster when he dropped it (its the kind with big wheels on it and it was on a slanted driveway), so wouldn’t he be at fault anyways?

Asked on October 30, 2010 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the owner of the dumpster for negligence for not properly securing it.  Negligence is based on exercising due care to prevent foreseeable harm.  Due care is that degree of care that a reasonable person (in this case a reasonable dumpster owner) would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.  It would seem that a reasonable person  would have secured the dumpster to prevent it from rolling down the sloping driveway.  You would have to prove that the dumpster owner breached a duty of care owed to you by failing to properly secure the dumpster and the breach of that duty of care was the actual and proximate cause of the damage to your vehicle.  Actual cause means but for the dumpster owner not securing the dumpster would your car have been damaged?  If the answer is no, then you have established actual cause.  Proximate cause means are there any unforeseeable intervening events which caused the damage to your car?  If the answer is no, you have established proximate cause and the dumpster owner is liable.  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car. 

You could file your lawsuit for negligence against the dumpster owner in Small Claims Court.  In addition to the cost of repairs to your vehicle, your damages should also include court costs such as the court filing fee and the process server fee.

 


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