If I was following behind a school bus and its axel broke so I ran over it and caused damage to my car, who is responsible to pay for the repairs?

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If I was following behind a school bus and its axel broke so I ran over it and caused damage to my car, who is responsible to pay for the repairs?

Is it me or the school?

Asked on April 29, 2015 under Accident Law, South Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The school district is liable for its negligent maintenance of the bus.  

You should file a claim with the school district's insurance carrier for the damage (cost of repairs) to your car.

If you need a rental car while your car is being repaired, the school district's insurance carrier should pay for it.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  You will also need to mitigate damages by selecting an auto repair shop whose fees are comparable to other auto repair shops in the area.

If you were to select the most expensive auto repair shop you could find and/or the most expensive rental car you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages (monetary compensation you are claiming) will be reduced accordingly.

Most likely, the case will be settled with the school district's insurance carrier.

If the case is NOT settled with the school district's insurance carrier, you could sue the school district for negligence.  Depending on the amount of your claim, you may be able to file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages would include the cost of repairs to your car, rental car expense, and court costs which would include the court filing fee and process server fee.

If the case is settled with the school district's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.


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