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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Brookings, SD

    Default Damage to Car at a Service Shop


    My car was involved in an accident at a local service shop. An employee of the shop was parking my car, after it had some work done to it, when it was broadsided by another vehical in the parking lot. Both parties are claiming that it was the others fault. The cop determined that it was a no fault accident. I contacted my insurance company to notify them and file a claim. My question is, should the service shop be 100% liable for the damage and other costs incurred in this accident? They offered up no insurance information and believed that the other driver is responsible. It seems to me that the service shop should be responsible. Am I correct?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default Damage to Car & Bailment For Hire

    Typically, under the law of bailments, when you pay somebody to take care of your property (as is ordinarily a part of surrendering your car to a service provider for repairs) it constitutes a "bailment for hire", and the person who takes charge of your car is liable if they fail to exercise ordinary care to preserve the condition of your car. (That is, when an individual entrusts property to another and pays for the services, a bailment for hire is created.) Thus, typically, a service shop would be liable under the circumstances you describe for the negligence of its employee, as that would reflect a failure to exercise due care.

    Typically, if property is returned in damaged condition, there is a prima facie case for liability on the part of the bailee (the entity which was holding the property) and it then the bailee's duty to prove that they did not violate their duty to exercise ordinary care. A local attorney should be able to advise you on the specifics of bailment law in South Dakota.

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