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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    16

    Default Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: MN

    Purchased a trailer from a large farm retailer. The retailer insisted that they will not allow me to just take the trailer away and they have to tie it up themselves on my vehicle (and if I have some piece missing I cannot just walk away with the trailer). So the sales person hooked it up. As I drove off, in next 2-3 minutes on highway, 55mph driving, the trailer got loose and started swinging to right and then to left. It was scary. I stopped and noticed the trailers hitch ball hookup, was no longer on my vehicles hitch ball, the wiring was torn apart, and my vehicles bumper had scratches. I went back to retailer, the Manager was aggresive and said they dont know what happened and what did not, its all I am saying, they dont need to believe anything. When the manager left, I realized the situation and turned on the voice recording. The sales person (when manager had left) was very apolegetic and admitted that he has been a screw up on things, and now he will be loosing his job, that I dont press for anything other than to get the trailer replaced with another piece.

    I took the trailer replacement, asked the retailer that they paint my vehicles bumper, but they said I need to file with my vehicle insurance and they will take care. I requested that they give me their insurance information and I can contact their insurance, but they say that is not possible, my only option is to contact my insurance, and my insurance can contact their insurance, and decide. I dont get a feeling this is fair? I have not ever in my lifetime filed an insurance claim, to keep my rates low, and now the retailer insists that I contact my insurance, and they will decide what to do.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,765

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    It would depend on whether you signed away any rights to further compensation when you took the replacement trailer. You can certainly continue to try. If this is a chain you might try going up the hierarchy to recover your damages.

    Let me let you know one thing. YOU are always responsible for any vehicle you operate. If you had caused third party damage (the trailer damaged other vehicle, for instance), you'd be held liable. You should learn how to safely secure and inspect the trailer before you even think of pulling it on the roadway again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Thanks. I have only a liability insurance. When I file a claim with my liability insurance, they will hike my rates, knowing that I am using a trailer with my car. Since today corporate offices are closed, so if I wait for tomorrow, first speak to their corporate office. Would this be a problem that why I waited 2 days to file this with my automotive insurance?

    That is a good safety advice for future, I will never trust a technician. I am very cautious when I do it myself, but considering they made a big fuss that they must inspect my vehicle and put it on themselves, I got duped into safety.

    Lastly, was this correct on their part that the store refuses to give me their insurance information (or have my bumper fixed)?

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    It would depend on whether you signed away any rights to further compensation when you took the replacement trailer. You can certainly continue to try. If this is a chain you might try going up the hierarchy to recover your damages.

    Let me let you know one thing. YOU are always responsible for any vehicle you operate. If you had caused third party damage (the trailer damaged other vehicle, for instance), you'd be held liable. You should learn how to safely secure and inspect the trailer before you even think of pulling it on the roadway again.
    Can I take this to the small claims court? Are there any state specific regulations that might help?

    Can I take this to the small claims court? Are there any state specific regulations that might help?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    If you only have liability insurance (not collision or comprehensive) your claim will be denied. You took the replacement trailer and it is doubtful that the retailer will file a claim on your liability insurance for the damage to the first trailer. They will fix the wiring harness and sell it.

    Take your car to a body shop and get estimate to repaint your bumper. Get it painted and pay for it. If you think it is worth your time and money to recover the cost you fie a small claims suit. At that point the retailer will likely counter sue for the cost to repair the trailer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,021

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting alexnc22
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    Thanks. I have only a liability insurance.
    No sense in filing a claim then. But you wouldn't have to even if you had the coverage. It's the dealer's negligence.

    Quote Quoting alexnc22
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    When I file a claim with my liability insurance, they will hike my rates, knowing that I am using a trailer with my car.
    Not necessarily. There should be no extra charge for the trailer on the liability coverage unless you want to cover it for damage or you use it for business. READ YOUR POLICY.

    Quote Quoting alexnc22
    View Post
    Since today corporate offices are closed, so if I wait for tomorrow, first speak to their corporate office. Would this be a problem that why I waited 2 days to file this with my automotive insurance?
    No. No need to file with your insurance at all since you don't have damage coverage.

    Quote Quoting alexnc22
    View Post

    Lastly, was this correct on their part that the store refuses to give me their insurance information (or have my bumper fixed)?
    Yes. Basically, their insurance is none of your business. But that doesn't change their liability for your damage due to the negligence of the employee.

    Quote Quoting alexnc22
    View Post

    Can I take this to the small claims court?
    Yes, but you might not have to. Fortunately, MN is a one party consent state so your recording is legal. I suggest you write out a transcript of the conversation you had with the employee, print it up and present it to the manager with an estimate for your repairs and a letter demanding payment.

    If the manager still gives you a hard time, find out who and where the OWNER of the company is, from your states corporate or business records (Secty of State or Corporation Commission) and send the OWNER the letter and attachments.

    If that still doesn't work then sue in small claims court. Your recording should be enough for a win.

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Let me let you know one thing. YOU are always responsible for any vehicle you operate. If you had caused third party damage (the trailer damaged other vehicle, for instance), you'd be held liable.
    Not necessarily.

    A defense to an allegation of negligence is that someone else (not the owner of the trailer) was negligent in causing the condition that caused the damage to others. That appears to be the case here.

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    At that point the retailer will likely counter sue for the cost to repair the trailer.
    That makes no sense. OP bought the trailer, didn't rent it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,936

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    That makes no sense. OP bought the trailer, didn't rent it.
    True but they may claim that it was OP's negligence that caused the damage after he left . They may not win but they were nice enough to replace the trailer and call it a wash. If OP sued them they could make any claim they want.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    No sense in filing a claim then. But you wouldn't have to even if you had the coverage. It's the dealer's negligence.

    No. No need to file with your insurance at all since you don't have damage coverage.
    As a retired claims adjuster you should know how this works. An insurance company agrees to represent the insured after an accident whether they are liable for damages to either vehicle or not... Whether they have full coverage or only liability. In this case the OP only has liability but why wouldn't his insurance pursue the other party/insurance co for him like they agreed to? Are you saying if a person with only liability, and he was rear-ended with a broken neck, his insurance will not pursue the other driver or legally represent him if the other party falsely claimed it was his fault for stopping too fast? I don't think so!

    If it was the dealer's negligence, which I agree it was, well, according to who? The OP by claiming it to the other party/insurance co? The OP has insurance and it is their responsibility to represent him, regardless of the coverage he has. If the two insurance companies somehow agree that it was the OP's fault, then his insurance simply won't follow through and pay for it because he does not have that type of coverage. But they still have to represent him up to that point.

    If the manager still gives you a hard time, find out who and where the OWNER of the company is, from your states corporate or business records (Secty of State or Corporation Commission) and send the OWNER the letter and attachments.

    If that still doesn't work then sue in small claims court. Your recording should be enough for a win.
    I agree that the OP should pursue it with the owner of the company. The little guy at the lot is trying to cover his butt by denying liability.

    When a professional business attaches something like a trailer or a x-mass tree to a vehicle, they take responsibility for their professional actions. I have never had a building material supplier attach anything to my truck because they know if they touch it, they own it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,765

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    N
    Not necessarily.

    A defense to an allegation of negligence is that someone else (not the owner of the trailer) was negligent in causing the condition that caused the damage to others. That appears to be the case here.
    Ah, but the dealer wasn't operating the vehicle. While they may have been indeed negligent in hitching it up, it is still negligence on the part of the OP to not verify that the vehicle was in a safe condition before entering the highway. Any trucker knows this. You can't get away with blaming that someone else didn't service the trailer brakes or whatever...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
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    476

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Ah, but the dealer wasn't operating the vehicle. While they may have been indeed negligent in hitching it up, it is still negligence on the part of the OP to not verify that the vehicle was in a safe condition before entering the highway. Any trucker knows this. You can't get away with blaming that someone else didn't service the trailer brakes or whatever...
    If your neighbor hooked up the trailer that might be true. But not when a professional who is trained, licensed and insured in the business of hooking up trailers does it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,765

    Default Re: Purchased Trailer Got Loose in 5 Mins Upon Driving

    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    If your neighbor hooked up the trailer that might be true. But not when a professional who is trained, licensed and insured in the business of hooking up trailers does it.
    You again display your ignorance and make up stuff. First, a trailer salesman is likely not probably specifically trained nor licensed in a way that would be meaningful to this situation. But even if we accept that ludicrous premise as fact, your statement is still wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. It is incumbent on the vehicle operator to make sure things are safe (and not closing the hitch properly is something that you are expected to check for your self even if the greatest trailer mechanic in the world said he hooked it up for you). That you he might have a claim against the dealer for their mess up doesn't mean that he's off scot-free for damages he caused because he failed to exercise the expected level of care.

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