What to do if my personal property was damaged beyond repair when an auction house was transporting antiques from an estate to the auction house?

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What to do if my personal property was damaged beyond repair when an auction house was transporting antiques from an estate to the auction house?

They packed everything and drove everything. They had three trailers full of items, including an open trailer. A cabinet fell off of the open trailer, causing another of the trailers with our items to go out of control and flip, damaging many of the items inside. The insurance company determined that the driver with the open trailer is 90% at fault and the other driver is 10% at fault. The insurance company has said that under state law, we are only reimbursed for 90% because they will not reimburse a claim that is less than 50%. I wondered if that sounds correct?

Asked on June 20, 2013 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The auction house is liable for 100% of the damage because an employer is liable for the negligence of its employees which occur during the course and scope of employment.  The drivers of the two trailers responsible for the damage to your personal property are both employees of the auction house and therefore the auction house is liable for negligence for all damage to your property. 

Comparative negligence which the insurance company is erroneously claiming is as follows:  Driver A and Driver B are in an auto accident.  Driver A is 90% at fault and Driver B is 10% at fault.  Driver B can only recover 90% of the damages from Driver A.

In your situation, both truck drivers are employees of the auction house, therefore, the auction house as an employer is liable for all damage caused by the negligence of its two employees.  Comparative negligence is inapplicable.

If the case isn't settled with the insurance company for the auction house, you can sue the auction house for negligence.


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