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LegalGround >> My Car was Damaged at a Car Wah Help


10/22/09 4:34 PM
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HaMMerHouseFAN
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Sorry for the FRAT

Last Friday I took my car to the car wash and the attendant was scrubbing down the front bumpper with a brush with a handle when I heard a a loud noise. I immediately thought he might of hit the headlight washer that I have on the bummper because it stick out just a bit and that was the only thing I could think of that might have made that noise if he hit it. Anyways I go through the car wash and then they hand dry it and I go leave as I had an appointment to go to that normally takes about 40 minutes to get to and I had about 50-55 minutes to get there. Something about that noise just didn't sit right with me though so I pull out of the car wash and pull into the Family Video parking lot that is across the street to look at the front. Sure enough this jack hit the headlight wasker and it was hanging out of the bumper. I tried to press it back in but it wouldn't stay or retract back in.

I drive back across the street and ask to see the manager. They person who I end up talking to said he was the guy who hit while he was doing the pre-soak. He trys to push it back in and can't get it either. He said he didn't understand how that could break (after he told me he didn't even know what it was) and I told it was from when he hit it with the brush. He said he it and saw it come out and then also saw it out after the car wash but didn't say anything to me. I then also notice on the front hood of my car some spots that look like drops the same color as when oil is mixes with water on black top (my car is black). I said those weren't there either before I went to the car wash. I fill out a damage claim sheet the guy gives me and while he goes in to make a copy another guy brings a rag and a bottle of something to try and get the stuff off of my hood. He tries to get it off and then says that it must be something in the paint because it wont come off. I do eventually get the stuff off of my hood when after I left by wetting my finger and it came off. Apparently that was some sort of wax or clear coat that dripped on it.

I don't hear anything over the weekend from them and then nothing on Monday so I call him Tuesday. The guy said he thought I must have fixed or something and he was waiting to hear from me. Anyways he basically says that if it is something cheap they will fix it but if not and it is something internal it's on me. He asked me to get an estimate so I did that today (Thursday). The Actuator was broken as the part that sticks out from the bumper is connected to a pump that sprays water. Well the plastic rod was snapped and you can see it broke off on the pump. Total to replace is roughly $450.00

I go back over there after I get the estimate and talk to the same guy I had been dealing with. He says he needs to make a copy of the estimate and then comes out with his boss. His boss says they use hog hair brushes and doesn't see how that could have cause the damage. I said there is hard plastic right here inside the brush (they brought one out to show me) and that must have it the pice and broke it. I then say how his employee admitted to hitting it so the only real discrepency is how much damage was caused. THe guy trys to tell me that when the employee said he hit it that he meant he went over that spot with the brush but not that he actually hit the piece.

Both of these guys are just worried about having to pay for the damage out of their own pocket. The manager I talked to today said he would turn it into the insurance company and I should hear from him or the agent by next Monday. I'm not counting on this because I'm sure their deductible for insurance is more than $450.00. I saved the two minute long voice message the guy who broke the piece left me and am also keeping documentation of each encounter I have with the car wash describing it and on what day it was done.

Anyone have any tips or experience dealing with something lie/similar to this? I'm thinking I''m going to have to right a letter saying that I plan to sue (which I will if I have to) and that I plan on naming the attendent, the manager, and also the car wash in the complaint if they dont pay to fix the damage.
10/22/09 11:14 PM
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Shaz
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 Small claims court.

-Shaz!
10/22/09 11:32 PM
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HaMMerHouseFAN
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Thanks Shaz. That is what I was thinking. I know people who are attorneys and have professors. Would it be worth it so send them a letter signed by an attorney stating that if the damage is not remedied that I will file a complaint or should I just straight file a complaint?
10/24/09 2:26 AM
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Shaz
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 If you know an attorney who will write a letter for free it can't hurt.  It's pretty cheap to file in small claims court - check your local rules, some require filing in the defendant's jurisdiction.  I had to file a small claims action against my law school once (!) and when I showed up the attorney for the school met with me and we settled the case for about half what I was asking, which was a good result since there were problems with my case.

-Shaz!
10/26/09 10:49 PM
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KenTheWalrus
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Just a warning, you leaving the lot and coming back, even for a few moments, may hurt your case. I've seen a case before almost exactly like this where the car owner lost. It was a parking garage that did the damage and the car owner left the lot, and then stopped down the road to check what he thought was damage when he got in the car (he said he was too nervous to inspect the damage in front of all of the garage attendants). The car had a big scratch and a small dent in the back that wasn't there when he left the car with the attendants. The court ruled that there was not enough proof that the damage happened at the garage since the car had left the lot. -ken

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