Is the car dealership responsible for hail damage to your car when they have your car for service at the service department?

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Is the car dealership responsible for hail damage to your car when they have your car for service at the service department?

I left my car with the dealership for scheduled milage service and was given a
loaner. There was a hail storm while my car was at the dealership. I made sure the
loaner I drove was under cover during the stormthere was no damage to the
loaner car. When I picked up my car the windshield was shattered and there are
dents in the roof and hood. I was told to call my insurance company that they were
not responsible. I have a large deductible on my insurance. I also live 3 hours away
from a dealership.

Asked on July 16, 2016 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Damage due to bad weather is considered to be an "act of God"; in other words beyong as person's/business's control. Accordingky, the dealership is not liable for the damage to your car. It can only be held responsible for something for which they were at fault (either intentionally or negligently). While it coud be argued that if they had notice of the hailstorm they could have stored your car inside, that woud be hard to prove. Also, such storms typically hit without notice, so it was reasonable to leave your car outside. Your car insurance might cover it.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, they are not responsible for hail damage. Weather damage is something beyond a person's or business's control; it is the proverbial "act of God." As such, the dealership is not responsible, because people/businesses are only responsible (or "liable") for property damage when they are at fault, and no one is at fault for the weather. (Yes, the car "could" have been stored under cover, but because it is reasonable to leave it outside, they did nothing wrong by leaving it exposed.) 


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