If my car was at a shop that burned down but the owners didn’t have insurance on the business, who is responsible for my totaled car?

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If my car was at a shop that burned down but the owners didn’t have insurance on the business, who is responsible for my totaled car?

Asked on December 3, 2014 under Accident Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, the owners would be responsible only if they were at fault in some way in causing the fire; for example, they left a cigarrette smoldering near paint thinner, left a welding torch on and unattended, knew they had faulty wiring or heating but didn't fix it, etc. If they were not at fault, they would not be liable for your loss--they do not become the insurer of cars at their business, and are not liable for acts beyond their control. Practically, if they were at fault but did not have insurance, then while they might be legally liable, they might not have any money to pay for the car (you can't get money from someone who has none, no matter how at fault they are; and if they didn't bother paying for insurance, they may not have been able to afford it or may not have had anything worth insuring). Hopefully, you have your own insurance on the car which will cover this situation.


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