My shopping cart hit another persons vehicle and I told them to get an estimate but they won’t get back to me, how long do they have to let me know how much to pay?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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My shopping cart hit another persons vehicle and I told them to get an estimate but they won’t get back to me, how long do they have to let me know how much to pay?

I was at a local grocery store and I needed to secure my 2 year old and 5 year old in their seats before unloading my cart. I put the cart against my trunk, wiggled it to be safe and put my kids in their seats. The cart started rolling and I lunged to catch it. It hit the vehicle anyway and dented the door. I told the person what happened, called my insurance company while he called law enforcement. My insurance company said that I was personally responsible since it was a cart and not my vehicle that did the damage. Law enforcement arrived, took an incident report and we exchanged information. He called with an estimate that night but he wanted another estimate from another company. That was a week ago. How long do we have to wait for his estimate? Is there a time limit for them letting us know how much we owe? Am I actually personally responsible for the damage or is his auto insurance responsible as long as we pay the deductible? What do we need to do?

Asked on September 27, 2019 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) His insurance may pay (other than the deductible) IF he has the right kind (collision or comprehensive) of insurance--he may not, however. And even if he does have the right kind of insurance, the law does not require him to use it: he is allowed to not put in a claim and to instead seek money from the person who was at fault in damaging his car.
2) You are most likely personally liable, since it is likely the case that it would be considered negligent, or careless, to let a cart damage another's car. You have to pay any amounts that he does not in fact get from insurance.
3) In your state (NC) he has up to three years to pursue you for the money, so he is not up against any kind of deadline unless this happened a long time ago.
4) You don't need to do anything until he comes back to you with an estimate and demand for payment. When he does, you have to either pay it, negotiate with him to a result you are both satisfied with, or refuse to pay and let him try to sue you (and then you'll have to defend the case).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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