If I broke an item accidentally in a shop, am I oblioged to compensate the retailer?

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If I broke an item accidentally in a shop, am I oblioged to compensate the retailer?

If so, at his cost or at full retail cost?

Asked on December 28, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you break another's property, you are liable (financially obligated or responsible) for it.  The retailer would only generally only be entitled to the object's cost (including, though, cost to ship it to him), since that  is what his loss was, unless he can show that he had an order for  that object, which order was lost or canceled due to the breakage--in that case, he could sufficiently establish the lost profit as well in order to recover the retail price.

Of course, unless there is a large difference between his cost and the retail price, it may be best to pay the retail price to avoid the possibility of him trying to take some action against you.


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