I pulled into a gas station with a canopy roof. A windy day. Started pumping gas.
Out from above, a huge ladder falls on the hood of my Jeep, belonging to a handiman electrical contractor hired to fix the station's roof lights, breaking the windshield, damaging fenders, hood, etc to the tune of $2700, according to an estimate from the Jeep dealer. Of course, I have smart phone pics, ladder on the Jeep, contractor on the roof, etc, no one is contesting the facts of what happened.
My insurance company sends an adjuster, he concurs with the estimate, and pays me $2200 ( $500 deductible) and the Jeep is repaired.
I ask the gas station's insurer to pay the deductible. They refuse, unless I sign a waiver of some sort so my insurance company can't collect from them.
They further state that they have no liability for my damage, and that I should forget the $500 as a 'bad experience'. I ask the owner of the station to pay, and she says "I pay premiums for coverage, my insurance company should pay you, not me".
I ask for an explanation, and the gas station agent compared the situation to an electrician doing repairs at a home, causing damage, and thus the electician, (who has no license, no money etc) is liable, not the homeowner for any property damage caused.
I disagreed. I mentioned that the gas station is a public business, not a private home, and for that reason he is comparing apples to oranges. By hiring the contractor to do work at the gas station, while at the same time continuing to accept business via accepting customers driving onto the premises, the gas station owner accepted the liability of any incident occurring while the contractor was on the property . Did the gas station owner use good judgement by staying open during the repairs? Not my call.
The gas station's insurance agent told me to quit bothering his client and forget the $500. This was on speaker phone with the gas station's owner and I thought this suggestion was unreasonable. The agent said once again that his company did not have any liability, and the issue is closed. He then hung up on both of us.
What is the next step.?
The gas station owner wants her agent to lose in court, so his company will pay the $500, and not her personally.
Also, she just wants the agent to lose, period...
My insurance company, when asked and advised a month ago, is 'pondering ' the options.
Any advice? Judge Judy??