What to do if my landlord had a company come and pressure wash the paint off the house and they damaged my van?

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What to do if my landlord had a company come and pressure wash the paint off the house and they damaged my van?

The employee from the company who did the damage to my van apoligized and the owner came to my house and had me go to an auto body to have an estimate. I went and got an estimate but for some reason my claim was denied. I only have liability insurance on the van. I have pictures of the damage and a video. As soon as my wife noticed the damage, she told the employee that she was going to get her camera and not to clean it so that she could get accurate pictures of what she saw when she came outside.

Asked on October 12, 2012 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your claim was denied because liability insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle--basically, for this purpose, you are uninsured.

If the pressure-washing company will not voluntarily pay for the damage to your van, you could sue them: when someone damages another's property through negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, they are  liable, or financially responsible, for the damage. You could also personally sue the employee(s) who did the damage. Your landlord, however, would not be responsible, since he/she is not responsible for the actions of third-party contractors or service providers unless the landlord in some way actually contributed to or helped cause the damage--the proper people to sue are the employee(s) (since they did the damage) and their employer, the pressure washing company (since a business is responsible for the actions of its employees in the course of their employment). One option is to sue in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney.


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