What are my rights if my work vehicle was damaged from a pot hole in a store parking lot and the repair will cost $2,100?

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What are my rights if my work vehicle was damaged from a pot hole in a store parking lot and the repair will cost $2,100?

I cannot afford to pay this amount outright and there is a hold up over who is responsible for the bill. The parties involved are not disputing the damage or the cost of the damage. I have been unable to work for 2 weeks. Can I go after loss of wages?

Asked on December 6, 2014 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless one of the at-fault parties agrees to pay the bills for you upfront, you have to pay for the repairs yourself and then seek reimbursement from them; the law does not require a party at fault in causing damage to pay for the repairs to be done in the first instance.

2) You would not be entitled to lost wages, other than perhaps for the day the damage was done. That is because you are expected to take steps to mitigate, or reduce your losses, *and* the law only makes a party liable for losses necessarily and directly caused by their negligent or otherwise wrongful act. Applying that to your situation:

a) There are other ways to get to work: you can rent a car, borrow a car from relatives or friends, buy a "junker" just to get around, take public transportation, take cabs or car services, ask friends or family to drive you, etc. Damage to your car or the need for your car to be repaired does not necessarily or directly cause you to miss work. (Note: the law does NOT consider your financial situation, since it's not the other party's fault if you don't earn enough or have enough savings to rent, etc. another car.)

b) In terms of your obligation to reduce your losses, you'd be expected to find another way to get to work.


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