Is the owner of a scrap yard responsible for the damage caused to my vehicle when one of his employees hit it with a piece of machinery?

He has signs posted stating, “Not responsible for vehicle damage” which I think we all assume means that if I choose to enter the “yard” and load/ unload scrap that it isn’t their fault if I get a flat tire or scrap my truck against the misc sharp objects in the area. However, I wasn’t “in the yard”, I was in the front parking area and the equipment operator lowered his forks into the the rear of my truck despite me motioning for him to stop several times. Is the owner of the scrap yard responsible for that damage?

Asked on December 9, 2015 under Accident Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, he is liable: he can disclaim damage from the normal risks of an activity--as you say, running over or up against scrap--but not from his own employee's negligence or wrongdoing; he and his staff cannot cause the damage through carelessness then refuse to pay for it. If he will not pay, you could sue the yard and/or the employee who actually drove the lift. d on the amount of money at stake, suing in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se"), is a good option.


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