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On the way to my bowling league the car in front of me runs over a corrogated plastic Coca-Cola sign (about 3' x 3') that was laying in the road and kicks it up into the front end of my car. Apparently, the car in front of the guy who ran over the sign swerved to avoid it at the last second and the guy in front of me didn't see it in time to avoid it. I don't blame the guy in front of me, he was actually cool and pulls over to see what kind of damage it caused and waited until the police arrived. After the police arrived, he says that basically in his opinion he doesn't think there is more than $1k worth of damage and I can fill out a self-reporting accident form. I guess that is the way it works here in South Carolina, if it isn't more than a $1k in damage or doesn't involve a collision then it isn't important enough for them to investigate according to the officer. So, I go back up the street and there is a Exxon Station that has the exact same signs posted out in front of their pumps. Neither the Manager or the Owner of the station would be back until tomorrow, so I left my name and number for them to give me a call and got their name and number also in case I didn't hear from them. It was breezy today, but I don't think it was windy enough that signs should have been blowing out into the middle of a major roadway. I think it is more of a case of negligence to properly secure their signs that is the proximate cause of my damage. There are a couple of knicks in the bumper that took the paint off and a few scratches. Some of the red from the sign was all over the bumper and the nose, but the red came off with some scrubbing and a Mr. Clean Eraser. How do you think I should handle this? Hopefully, the station will take responsibility and work with me. My deductible is $250, but I don't want to pay anything to get it fixed. I doubt that my insurance company would pursue anything against the station to get my deductible back. I really don't want to file a claim against my insurance because I just added my 16 year old son to the policy and would hate to give them any reason to raise my rates.
 

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On the way to my bowling league the car in front of me runs over a corrogated plastic Coca-Cola sign (about 3' x 3') that was laying in the road and kicks it up into the front end of my car. Apparently, the car in front of the guy who ran over the sign swerved to avoid it at the last second and the guy in front of me didn't see it in time to avoid it. I don't blame the guy in front of me, he was actually cool and pulls over to see what kind of damage it caused and waited until the police arrived. After the police arrived, he says that basically in his opinion he doesn't think there is more than $1k worth of damage and I can fill out a self-reporting accident form. I guess that is the way it works here in South Carolina, if it isn't more than a $1k in damage or doesn't involve a collision then it isn't important enough for them to investigate according to the officer. So, I go back up the street and there is a Exxon Station that has the exact same signs posted out in front of their pumps. Neither the Manager or the Owner of the station would be back until tomorrow, so I left my name and number for them to give me a call and got their name and number also in case I didn't hear from them. It was breezy today, but I don't think it was windy enough that signs should have been blowing out into the middle of a major roadway. I think it is more of a case of negligence to properly secure their signs that is the proximate cause of my damage. There are a couple of knicks in the bumper that took the paint off and a few scratches. Some of the red from the sign was all over the bumper and the nose, but the red came off with some scrubbing and a Mr. Clean Eraser. How do you think I should handle this? Hopefully, the station will take responsibility and work with me. My deductible is $250, but I don't want to pay anything to get it fixed. I doubt that my insurance company would pursue anything against the station to get my deductible back. I really don't want to file a claim against my insurance because I just added my 16 year old son to the policy and would hate to give them any reason to raise my rates.
Fix your car, either out of pocket or thru insurance. Your ins company isn't going to go after the business owner because trying to prove negligence in this case would be impossible and very costly. You could try to sue the company in small claims court (don't know your state's laws) but again you would likely lose and have to pay court fees. If the cost to fix your car is minimal, pay out of pocket.
 

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You can take them to small claims if needed. Hopefully you kept the sign - and get some pictures of similar signs posted at the store tomorrow. Make sure the pics show the sign and some distinguishing landmark that clearly identifies the place of business. (in one pic hopefully)

Also - somehow record the weather conditions in your area today - from a reputable source like the national weather service - hopefully the conditions will show gusts to X mph.

That should be all you need. If you have the name of the other driver and he's willing to be a witness - that might help.
 

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Interesting - just some thoughts and opinions here, but you may not have any luck getting the gas station to own up to negligence on their part. It doesn't sound like you have any firm "proof" they did anything wrong or that they could be held liable for - without having a couple of witnesses who observed how those signs got in the road, not much to hold the station accountable for. I'd get a repair estimate, and if you can afford it without going the insurance route, just get it fixed and chalk it up to "one of those things." Again, just my thinking and what I'd probably do given what you've provided in the way of information.

Not a totally similar scenario, but a few years ago during an ice storm, my wife rear-ended a car with our SUV. No damage at all to our SUV, but the other car had a crunched rear quarter panel. Insurance cards were traded, the police looked at it and simlar to your situation, didn't quite meet the threshold for a report. The people who got hit called and wanted me to pay their deductable right away - I declined and recommended they contact either theirs or my insurance company to file a claim. Point being, I didn't believe my wife or I were responsible for paying their deductible regardless of who hit whom - that's what insurance claims are for. The gas station manager or owner may have a like mindset - "think its my fault those signs were out in the road - file a claim." Again, just an opinion.
 

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Standard of proof in most civil actions is preponderance of the evidence - english translation "more likely than not".

So can you prove it is more likely than not that the station failed to secure their signs, and they blew into the road where they damaged your car. I think the answer is yes... especially if you have the sign that did the damage and photos of similar/exact signs displayed outside a place of business in the general vicinity of the damage.

The real question is whether the $$$ is worth the aggravation of going to court. Might be kinda fun though.

Hemifan - people can think what they want - but generally someone who does damage to another's property due to negligence is liable for it - insurance just pays the liability on behalf of the negligent person.
 

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You are unlikely to get anywhere with the business unless you can prove that their negligence caused the sign to end up in the road. Even if you proved it, you have the duty to be following the car in front of you at a far enough distance for the speed that if the car in front of you suddenly swerves to avoid a sign in the road, you also have the time to avoid the road. I know that is not a happy perspective to hear, but it is the likely outcome. A potentially more successful approach would be to assert (if true) that the car in front of you struck the sign forcing the sign into the air as a result of the collision and that this sign was still flying through the air when you struck it. If that can be asserted successfully, then your claim would go under comprehensive instead of collision, would probably have a lower deductible, and would not be chargeable to your policy (ie would not impact your rates as a result of the claim)
 

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good luck. if the store had their sign up? then how could the sign on the road have been theirs.

now, if they were missing a sign, and you could show the sign in the road was theirs, you might have a case.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Hey guys, thanks for all the replies which I just got to read. The gas station does have the identical "16oz Coca Cola .99 cent" signs posted around their station. The one that blew up in the air after the car in front of me ran over it laying loosely in the road and struck my car is now tucked away safely in my trunk. The good news is that I used Meguiars ScratchX 2.0 and all the color transfer from the sign came off my bumper, nose, fender, top, trunk and spoiler. I don't think I have any reason to pursue this further, except for the principal of the matter. The station will hopefully ensure their signs are affixed to their property more securely in the future. It would be fun to take this to court, but I'm sure the court has better things to do.

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Hemifan - people can think what they want - but generally someone who does damage to another's property due to negligence is liable for it - insurance just pays the liability on behalf of the negligent person.
Yes, I know - hence the reason I recommended those folks who wanted me to write them personal check for their deductible to file an insurance claim - that's what I pay insurance premiums for; in case I'm liable or to assist in settling my claim if I incure some form of "loss" due to someone else.
 

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Hey guys, thanks for all the replies which I just got to read. The gas station does have the identical "16oz Coca Cola .99 cent" signs posted around their station. The one that blew up in the air after the car in front of me ran over it laying loosely in the road and struck my car is now tucked away safely in my trunk. The good news is that I used Meguiars ScratchX 2.0 and all the color transfer from the sign came off my bumper, nose, fender, top, trunk and spoiler. I don't think I have any reason to pursue this further, except for the principal of the matter. The station will hopefully ensure their signs are affixed to their property more securely in the future. It would be fun to take this to court, but I'm sure the court has better things to do.



Great news!


I'm thirsty now.:indifferent:
 

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Find out what your state considers "negligence" it can be difficult to prove. Several states it has to "willful and wanton" meaning it almost has to be done on purpose, to be negligent.
 

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I've been in Law Enforcement for over 20 years my friend and have seen more than my fair share of criminal and civil cases and you simply would be wasting your time going after the gas station because you have no proof that the sign was actually they're sign. Now here in Pa you'd have a better chance going after the vehicle that struck the object causing it to strike your vehicle in which sustained damage due to the vehicle in front of you not avoiding the sign. If that driver was paying close attention he should have been able to avoid the sign thus there lies his negligence. Good luck but your just wasting your time and money with the gas station.
 
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