If my car windshield was cracked while at a drive-thru car wash facility and there was no prior damage and a recent inspection, is the facility owner liable?

Asked on August 1, 2012 under Accident Law, Illinois


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The car wash is liable for negligence for the damage to your windshield.  The problem however is that many car washes have a disclaimer posted stating they are not liable for damage to the vehicle.  That may present a problem for you if such a sign is posted at your car wash.  The car wash could assert the defense of assumption of the risk; that you recognized and understood the danger of damage to your car and voluntarily chose to encounter it by going through the car wash.

Prior to filing a lawsuit for negligence against the car wash, file a claim with the car wash insurance carrier for the cost of repairs to your windshield.  If the claim is denied, you can file your lawsuit for negligence against the car wash in Small Claims Court.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your windshield and court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

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