What to do if I own a car lot that is close to a busy road and a passing motorist jumped the curb and slammed into 2 cars on my lot and my freestanding pylon sign?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2013

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What to do if I own a car lot that is close to a busy road and a passing motorist jumped the curb and slammed into 2 cars on my lot and my freestanding pylon sign?

The sign was about 12 feet tall and had an illuminated cabinet. The sign company says that the whole thing needs replaced, but when I submitted the estimate to the motorist’s insurance company, they told me they would only pay for half. Are they obligated to pay the full amount to replace my sign? Also, since the sign is now blocking my lot, I’ve had to move all the cars to the rear lot (behind the building and not visible from the road) which has killed my business. Am I entitled to compensation for lost revenue?

Asked on January 16, 2013 under Accident Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the insured driver was at fault (that is, was driving negligently, or unreasonably carelessly) in damaging the sign, then he/she--and therefore, his/her insurer--would normally seem liable to pay the full cost to repair or replace the sign. However, if the driver or his/gher insurer will not voluntarily pay that much, you would need to sue to prove their liability in court and get a court judgment in your favor; it may well be the case that the additional time and cost of suing would outweight the additional money you hope to receive.

The driver and his/her insurer would most likely not be liable (financially responsible) for your lost revenue, since it would not have been reasonably foreseeable (predictable in advance) that knocking down a sign would cost a business significant revenue; a party is only responsible for foreseeable losses.

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