Is the gas station owner liable for damage done to my car while I was to trying to maneuver a way to get out of his garage bay?

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Is the gas station owner liable for damage done to my car while I was to trying to maneuver a way to get out of his garage bay?

I had my car inspection done at a local gas station. When completed, I was told to move my car out of the garage bay. There were several cars in the parking lot along with cars coming in for gas. While I was doing a 3-point turn, a truck that was parked along side of the garage backed into my car causing damage. I didn’t call the police because I assumed the driver was claiming to be at fault. We exchanged insurance papers and I filled my claim. My insurance adjuster has informed me that the truck driver is claiming that it was my fault. I made the suggestion to my insurance adjuster to ask the gas station for their video footage but they are not responding. My insurance adjuster has told me that my claim will close this week if it can’t resolved. I asked my mechanic if he would be liable for damage done if a customer drove their car out of his garage bay. He told me that he doesn’t allow his customers to drive out of his bay for that reason. Is the gas station owner liable for damage done to my car while I was to trying to maneuver a way to get out of his garage bay. If there is video footage, does the gas station owner need to provide that to insurance company?

Asked on September 27, 2017 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact that the damage occurred on the gas station property does not make them liable unless it was their truck and/or their employee: if it was, you can hold them liable but if not, your recourse is against the at fault driver and the owner of the truck (if separate from the driver). If insurance is not paying due to a dispute over and inability to resolve or determine fault, you can still sue the truck's driver and owner. In the course of that lawsuit, you could subpoena the videos from the gas station--unfortunately, subpoenas can only be issued in the course of a lawsuit, and they cannot be compelled, if not a party to the lawsuit, to release the video without a subpoena. If you can prove in court, whether by credible or believable witness testimony (including your own), by videos, or otherwise that the truck driver was at fault, you can get a court judgment or order compelling the driver or owner (owners are liable for the acts of their drivers to pay)--you sue both to maximize your chance of getting money from someone. Depending on the repair cost, suing in small claims court, as your own attorney or pro se, may be a very good option.


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