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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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