What to do if my car’s window was smashed in a motel parking lot?

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What to do if my car’s window was smashed in a motel parking lot?

My car was parked right in the front of the motel’s front door. The next day, after I checked out, I found my car’s window was smashed by someone. I asked the hotel to call the police, however I was told that it happened that morning about 6 am. I asked, “Why didn’t you call me – you have my room number, my car’s license plate number and my cell phone number; now it’s 10 am”. Finally I sent the car to the dealer; it took 7 hours to fix. I was lucky since they found the window glass, otherwise I would have needed to stay in the hotel one more night. After I got home, I sent an email to the hotel, asking that it pay me back $500 for the window repair but they never gave me any answer or reply. Can I sue the hotel?

Asked on November 26, 2013 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the hotel had a sign posted in the parking lot that it is not responsible for damage to cars, etc., then you probably won't prevail in a lawsuit because you assumed the risk by parking there.

If there isn't such a sign, you could sue the hotel for negligence.  Prior to filing a lawsuit, it would be advisable to contact the hotel's insurance carrier to try to settle the case.  If the case is settled with the hotel's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed. 

If the case is NOT settled with the hotel's insurance carrier, you can sue the hotel for negligence which is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable hotel would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are sseking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car.

You may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court; however, if you are a resident of another state, there may be some jurisdictional problems with filing in Small Claims Court as the laws vary from state to state.  If that is the case, you will need to file your lawsuit in a higher court.


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