My shopping cart hit another vehicle in a P.L. Causing damage to the front bumper. Am I legally obligated to pay for the damages

Asked about 3 years ago - San Diego, CA

I was at a grocery store. My shopping cart was put in front of my vehicle on a curb. I took my son out of the cart to put him in my vehicle. The cart rolled off the curb and damaged a parked car. I exchanged information with victim. Contacted my insurance company which I was not able to file a claim. The victim says it will cost $1100 to fix the damage that appears to be minor. Am I obligated to pay these charges.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Kevin Samuel Sullivan

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . yes you are liable if your shopping cart which you were using caused property damage to a car.

  2. Andrew Y. Kim

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . Your car insurance policy may not cover this since it did not involve "the use of a motor vehicle" but you should ask your insurance company specifically what exclusion they are applying to deny payment.

    You may also check with your homeowner's policy to see if this is covered. Best to check with a local attorney in CA.

  3. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Yikes. Yes, you're liable in that you were the one who set the cart in motion by removing the son and not securing the cart from its trajectory into the other vehicle. As some jurisdictions would put it, you had the 'last clear chance' to stop the cart from rolling into the other car. So, yes, you are liable, unless there are other facts not in the posting.

    Whether or not your auto insurance will cover this depends on whether the scenario can be considered "attendant to the use of the vehicle". I would argue yes, because taking young children along on shopping trips is a necessity for a mother, loading and securing the child are required activities, and the shopping cart is a reasonable, necessary part of transporting the child. Persist in getting them to take the claim. Do not take the first "no" for an answer. Go up a level. If this does not work., then look to whether your homeowners coverage or any 'umbrella' coverage you may or may not have will kick in to defend you.

    If all of this fails, then you're left to fend for yourself. If you believe the owner of teh other car has inflated the cost of repairs, then let them take you to small claims court and get the court to agree that the repairs were reasonable. Note: most small claims courts will award a successful plaintiff their costs of filing.

    I represent personal injury clients in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

  4. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . What insurance company did you contact? This claim against you should be handled by your homeowners or renters insurance company, not your car insurance company. You are not the person who files a claim. The adverse party, whose vehicle was damaged, makes the claim. If you are not insured for this incident, you should satisfy yourself as to the reasonable cost of any repairs. You may wish to have an independent body shop appraised the damages caused by your negligence. You are responsible for damages caused by your negligence.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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