Can I sue them for negligence and damage to my car?

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Can I sue them for negligence and damage to my car?

My wife and I were in a retail store store shopping, after paying for our purchases we left the store, one of the light poles in the parking lot where we parked fell in between our car and another car damaging both, I have a smashed hood, broken grill and bumper and chipped paint on a fender. I called the retail company that owns the light pole and parking lot, and was told that they will not pay for my car to be repaired due to high winds was act of nature. And that I should call my insurance company which I did. I have pictures of the pole parts laying on my car and the pole on the ground. Also the pictures of the pole base where it was rusted so bad that only 1/3 good metal was holding it up until it fell. I have $500 deductible can I sue them for that plus even more due to the stress and other factors? I can’t afford a rental car while mine is in the body shop.

Asked on December 16, 2017 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you can show that their negligence caused the pole to fall, they would be liable for any amounts not paid by your insurer (e.g. the deductible; car rental costs for a reasonable time post-damage). Showing that the pole base was rusted is a start, but may not be enough if it would still have been unclear to anyone looking at the pole prior to it falling that the rust had impaired the structure (e.g. surface ruse is irrelevant); they had to have had some reason to reasonably suspect a risk or danger, so that their failure  to take action to moderate or eliminate that risk was negligent (careless).
You cannot recover for "stress": the law does not provide compensation for stress in property damage cases. You could only potentially recover (if you can show their fault) economic losses directly resulting from the incident.


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