Isa restaurant liableif your vehicle was damaged by a third party valet service that it provided?

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Isa restaurant liableif your vehicle was damaged by a third party valet service that it provided?

The valet driver denied everything. The valet company denied having insurance. The restaurant owner verbally said he would take care of it in front of witnesses and called me the next day and said he would take care of it. Instead of taking care of the cost to repair the damages he offered 50%, 60% and now 80% of the damages. I want to file a small claim but want to ensure that the Restaurant is responsible for the damages. There is no proof just my word and my friends word that the damages were not there before the valet.

Asked on January 27, 2011 under Accident Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Two different issues:

1) Legally, if a valet damaged the car, then potentially the valet him/herself, the valet service, and the restaurant hiring the valet service might all be liable; the restaurant *may* be insulated from liability if the valet service was a third-party company and the restaurant itself was in no way responsible for their actions (and hired a reputable company, had a reasonable parking area, etc.), but that can be determined at trial. You would be best served by naming valet, valet service, and restaurant all as defendants.

2) Factually, if the other party denies they caused the damage while you claim they did, if neither of you has hard evidence, it will come down to testimony and recollections. In that case, the suing party (you) is always at a slight disadvantage, since you need to actively prove your case.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You didn't by any chance file a police report or anything "official" like that, did you? Did you file a claim of any sort with the restaurant?  Do not discountyour word or your friend's word on this.  It is not impossible to prove based on your testimony and weighing the veracity of the witnesses, which is what it will come down to.  The witnesses to the agreement to pay can help a bit too.  ow, the valet was hired by the restaurant, correct? Then they are their agent and  the restaurant's insurance should be sued and can be held liable.  You have to sue the valet company as well to cover all bases.  Good luck to you.


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