Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

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Latest post Mon, Jul 11 2016 7:28 PM by diecuts. 8 replies.
  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 1:57 AM

    • diecuts
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sun, Oct 29 2006
    • MI
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    Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    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??

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 6:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    Neither the contractor nor the business owe you anything until a court of law says they do.  They basically are calling your bluff that you will push the issue over the deductible.  File a small claims suit naming both of them and let the court decide who if anyone is liable for that $500 to you.

    Keep in mind that if the ladder fell due to wind there may be no liability at all due to an "act of god" or weather that neither party could control.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 8:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    diecuts:
    What is the next step.?

    You need to speak with someone at your insurer.  Your insurer may be taking steps to recover its loss (called subrogation), and it may be seeking to recover your deductible as part of those efforts.  On the other hand, given the amount of money involved, it may choose not to bother, which may free you up to sign the waiver that the gas station owner's insurer wants.

    It's also a little odd that your post says NOTHING about efforts to recover from the contractor.  Unfortunately, it does not appear that Michigan requires contractors to have bonds.

     

    diecuts:
    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.

    This doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  If you sue, you'll sue the contractor and/or the gas station owner.  You don't sue the insurer.  And the gas station owner is correct:  if this is covered by the owner's insurance (and it should be), then it's up to the insurer to pay, not the owner (although there could be reasons why the owner might be better off to pay the $500 than to have the insurer handle it).

     

    diecuts:
    Any advice?

    At the end of the day, if your insurer isn't going to take action to recover your deductible, then you'll have to decide whether or not to sue.  Given the small amount at issue, you'll be in small claims court.  Whether or not the station owner is vicariously liable for the contractor's negligence is anything but clear, as you seem to think.

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 8:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    ClydesMom:
    Keep in mind that if the ladder fell due to wind there may be no liability at all due to an "act of god" or weather that neither party could control.

    The contractor was required to take reasonable measures to secure the ladder.  Unless the weather had changed significantly, it appears that he/she failed to do so.  While the contractor had no ability to control the weather, he/she did have the ability to control his/her equipment.

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 10:10 AM In reply to

    • diecuts
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    • Joined on Sun, Oct 29 2006
    • MI
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    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    Why no mention of the contractor in collecting?  I talked to his wife, he has nothing, and she has no clue as to what he does even for a living.  When I mentioned a ladder, she mentioned, "how far did he fall off of it?"    It does make sense however, to name both parties in small claims court, just to cover the bases.    

    Regarding securing the ladder, the pics clearly show no effort was made to secure anything. The contractor, in later conversation with the owner, didn't even screw in the lightbulb correctly, totally inept....

     

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 10:15 AM In reply to

    • diecuts
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    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Oct 29 2006
    • MI
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    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    The gas station owner wants her insurance company to pay the $500.  If that means they lose in court, so be it.  She does not like her agent, and considers him a 'loser', but , due to other factors, must use his services.  

    My insurance company, who I do massive amounts of other business with, is thinking to just toss me $500 and call it 'good business relations'.   We shall see.....

     

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 1:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    diecuts:
    Why no mention of the contractor in collecting?  I talked to his wife, he has nothing, and she has no clue as to what he does even for a living.

    And I assume you've taken into account the incentive that a person you could potentially sue (or his spouse) has to lie to you about things like this.

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 1:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    diecuts:
    My insurance company, who I do massive amounts of other business with, is thinking to just toss me $500 and call it 'good business relations'.   We shall see.....

    Wouldn't be the first time it's happened.  Several years ago, I was in an auto accident in which I was the middle car of a three car rear-end collision.  The car in front of mine and my car were stopped in traffic.  I was rear-ended, and the impact pushed my car into the front car.  The driver of the rear car had only minimum coverage, so his insurance wasn't sufficient to pay the total cost to fix both the front car and my car.  My insurer paid the difference under my collision coverage without requiring that I pay the deductible.  It's not all that uncommon.

  • Mon, Jul 11 2016 7:28 PM In reply to

    • diecuts
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Sun, Oct 29 2006
    • MI
    • Posts 67

    Re: Jeep vs Ladder $500 deductible- How to collect?

    Update:  My insurance company is going after the gas station's company for the entire amount of $2700, and, upon prevailing, will send me a check for the deductible.   If they don't prevail, then I need  to go to small claims court.    The electrical contractor lives about 3 miles from me, I drove by, it is a mess, unkept, rusty junkers about.   I don't see $500 coming from that avenue...but it doesn't hurt to list both parties in a small claims case.

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