small claims court or what?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Jesse Nowells, May 23, 2003.

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  1. I left my bike locked up in the basement parking lot at work, in the special bike area, & when I
    went to retrieve it, found that the top tube was crushed. Of course, the parking management people
    fed me their line about how they're not responsbile blah-blah-blah, but I suspect that some work
    people, who I saw in the bike area with their SUV, backed up into my bike & either didn't noticed
    what they did or they just blew it off. On top of that, the bike area is right next to the
    attendant's booth. I just left the bike locked up there. How should I go about handling this
    situation?
     
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  2. In article <[email protected]>, Jesse Nowells
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >
    >I left my bike locked up in the basement parking lot at work, in the special bike area, & when I
    >went to retrieve it, found that the top tube was crushed. Of course, the parking management people
    >fed me their line about how they're not responsbile blah-blah-blah, but I suspect that some work
    >people, who I saw in the bike area with their SUV, backed up into my bike & either didn't noticed
    >what they did or they just blew it off. On top of that, the bike area is right next to the
    >attendant's booth. I just left the bike locked up there. How should I go about handling this
    >situation?
    >

    Start by getting a repair estimate so you can figure out what it's worth to you. If there's any
    paint damage on the bike, go have a look at the SUV...

    --Paul
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    > I left my bike locked up in the basement parking lot at work, in the special bike area, & when I
    > went to retrieve it, found that the top tube was crushed. Of course, the parking management people
    > fed me their line about how they're not responsbile blah-blah-blah, but I suspect that some work
    > people, who I saw in the bike area with their SUV, backed up into my bike & either didn't noticed
    > what they did or they just blew it off. On top of that, the bike area is right next to the
    > attendant's booth. I just left the bike locked up there. How should I go about handling this
    > situation?

    You don't have anyone to make a claim against yet -- the garage probably really isn't responsible
    for what other people do inside the garage. If you think you know the vehicle that did the damage,
    inspect the vehicle for any marks from your bike.

    You might also want to file a police report for a hit-and-run collision or vandalism. This assumes
    the damage is enough to file a report over.

    If the damage is very expensive, you might consider making a personal property claim under your
    homeowners or renters insurance, but if you're a homeowner, most bike frames would not be worth the
    loss surcharge on your insurance for the next few years.

    --
    [email protected] is Joshua Putnam <http://www.phred.org/~josh/> Books for Bicycle Mechanics and
    Tinkerers: <http://www.phred.org/~josh/bike/bikebooks.html
     
  4. Pat

    Pat Guest

    x-no-archive:yes

    "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > I left my bike locked up in the basement parking lot at work, in the special bike area, & when I
    > went to retrieve it, found that the top tube was crushed. Of course, the parking management people
    > fed me their line about how they're not responsbile blah-blah-blah, but I suspect that some work
    > people, who I saw in the bike area with their SUV, backed up into my bike & either didn't noticed
    > what they did or they just blew it off. On top of that, the bike area is right next to the
    > attendant's booth. I just left the bike locked up there. How should I go about handling this
    > situation?

    Take lots and lots of photos, especially one showing how close the attendant's booth is. Photos of
    the bike and of any vehicles you suspect are necessary, too. If you tell these people you are going
    to haul them into court as witnesses (and they will lose a day's pay) they might be able to tell you
    something.

    Pat
     
  5. Waxxer

    Waxxer Guest

    Joshua summed it up very nicely. Except for the possibility of it being a vehicular accident or hit
    and run. The police (will only) write a property damage case if you are lucky and assign a non crime
    case number. Why? Its not a vehicular accident, it hard to prove the damage was malicious and no one
    has stepped for claiming responsibility or wittiness account.

    You may be able to pursue the land owner and see if his insurance will cover
    it. Chances are he will go and tell you to pound salt.

    Unfortunately, you have little recourse and be careful pointing your finger at someone just out
    of suspicion

    Good luck!!

    "Pat" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > x-no-archive:yes
    >
    > "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:p[email protected]...
    > >
    > >
    > > I left my bike locked up in the basement parking lot at work, in the special bike area, & when I
    > > went to retrieve it, found that the top tube was crushed. Of course, the parking management
    > > people fed me their line about how they're not responsbile blah-blah-blah, but I suspect that
    some
    > > work people, who I saw in the bike area with their SUV, backed up into
    my
    > > bike & either didn't noticed what they did or they just blew it off. On top of that, the bike
    > > area is right next to the attendant's booth. I
    just
    > > left the bike locked up there. How should I go about handling this situation?
    >
    > Take lots and lots of photos, especially one showing how close the attendant's booth is. Photos of
    > the bike and of any vehicles you suspect
    are
    > necessary, too. If you tell these people you are going to haul them into court as witnesses (and
    > they will lose a day's pay) they might be able to tell you something.
    >
    > Pat
    >
     
  6. On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:

    > Joshua summed it up very nicely. Except for the possibility of it being a vehicular accident or
    > hit and run. The police (will only) write a property damage case if you are lucky and assign a non
    > crime case number. Why? Its not a vehicular accident, it hard to prove the damage was malicious
    > and no one has stepped for claiming responsibility or wittiness account.

    I don't necessarily assume any malicious intent. Why should I? I witnessed people working in the
    bike area with a parked SUV. The kind of damage done to the bike looks like a vehicle was involved.
    The crushed area looks like it was twisted. The crushed area was where the lock was. (We're not
    talking about paint damage. We're talking about a totaled bike.) Probably what happened was that
    these people backed up slowly & the bike got wedged.

    > You may be able to pursue the land owner and see if his insurance will cover it. Chances are he
    > will go and tell you to pound salt. Unfortunately, you have little recourse and be careful
    > pointing your finger at someone just out of suspicion

    I'm not interested in accusing any individual. There are 3 entities involved here: A major
    corporation. a parking managment contractor & a building contractor. Somebody's going to write
    me a check.
     
  7. Waxxer

    Waxxer Guest

    I hear you Jesse, and I wish you luck. In fact it would restore what little faith I have in humanity
    if someone stepped forward. I doubt this will happen. One approach may be to wrangle all three
    parties together and see if you can get someone to step forward or at the least split the cost. That
    way there is no contentiousness, nobody gets pissed and you get a new frame or bike.

    I believe that if you go in accusing, (not saying you were going to) things get much tougher. It
    becomes an ego thing and you will lose. It is clear from what you state that 1 or all 3 are involved
    as a result of the activity going on around your bike. From a negotiating perspective, state as fact
    that the work effort around your bike is the only plausible excuse for the damage and you would like
    reparations from those involved. Do not leave the argument open ended. State your needs and ask
    (don't demand) for a finite time to conclude on the issue.

    Say something like "Please talk it over amongst yourselves and let me know what you decided by
    Friday--will that work for you guys?" Hopefully they or one party will step forward to clear
    things up.

    Good Luck and let us know the outcome!!

    "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:
    >
    > > Joshua summed it up very nicely. Except for the possibility of it being
    a
    > > vehicular accident or hit and run. The police (will only) write a
    property
    > > damage case if you are lucky and assign a non crime case number. Why?
    Its
    > > not a vehicular accident, it hard to prove the damage was malicious and
    no
    > > one has stepped for claiming responsibility or wittiness account.
    >
    > I don't necessarily assume any malicious intent. Why should I? I witnessed people working in the
    > bike area with a parked SUV. The kind of damage done to the bike looks like a vehicle was
    > involved. The crushed area looks like it was twisted. The crushed area was where the lock was.
    > (We're not talking about paint damage. We're talking about a totaled bike.) Probably what happened
    > was that these people backed up slowly & the bike got wedged.
    >
    > > You may be able to pursue the land owner and see if his insurance will cover it. Chances are he
    > > will go and tell you to pound salt. Unfortunately, you have little recourse and be careful
    > > pointing your finger at someone just out of suspicion
    >
    > I'm not interested in accusing any individual. There are 3 entities involved here: A major
    > corporation. a parking managment contractor & a building contractor. Somebody's going to write me
    > a check.
     
  8. On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:

    > I hear you Jesse, and I wish you luck. In fact it would restore what little faith I have in
    > humanity if someone stepped forward. I doubt this will happen.

    Oh, for crying out loud. I don't need to get a complex about people over this. I just need some
    legal advice & that's what I'm going to get. Small claims court is probably my best option.
     
  9. Raymo853

    Raymo853 Guest

    The parking lot is not responsible for what the drivers inside the lot do unless they made the
    building poorly. You have to find the car/SUV that hit your bike. The driver of that vehicle made
    the mistake, stop looking for people with deep pockets to blame and blame the person that made
    the mistake.

    "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    > I'm not interested in accusing any individual. There are 3 entities involved here: A major
    > corporation. a parking managment contractor &
    a
    > building contractor. Somebody's going to write me a check.
     
  10. Blech

    Blech Guest

    Jesse Nowells <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:
    >
    > > I hear you Jesse, and I wish you luck. In fact it would restore what little faith I have in
    > > humanity if someone stepped forward. I doubt this will happen.
    >
    > Oh, for crying out loud. I don't need to get a complex about people over this. I just need some
    > legal advice & that's what I'm going to get. Small claims court is probably my best option.

    He was talking about his own faith in humanity, not yours.
     
  11. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:
    >
    > > I hear you Jesse, and I wish you luck. In fact it would restore what little faith I have in
    > > humanity if someone stepped forward. I doubt this will happen.
    >
    > Oh, for crying out loud. I don't need to get a complex about people over this. I just need some
    > legal advice & that's what I'm going to get. Small claims court is probably my best option.
    >

    In that case maybe you'd be better off punting your query over to "uk.legal" or suchlike.

    Don't expect to get too much in the way of useful advice in u.l, as it seems to have a large
    contingent of obsessive nutters vindictive loons and half-arsed barrack room lawyers who give out
    highly dubious and misleading advice (a copper *can't* arrest you if he isn't wearing his hat etc).
    You'll also doubtless be slated for running red lights, cycling on pavements and scaring old ladies
    whether you do or not.

    My point? Newsgroups may not be your best source of info. Maybe a fixed-fee consultation with a
    member of the thin-watch brigade is in order?

    Good luck,

    Tim.

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    Version: 6.0.483 / Virus Database: 279 - Release Date: 19/05/03
     
  12. Tim Cain

    Tim Cain Guest

    Oops. I thought I was perusing uk.rec.cycling rather than
    r.b.m, hence suggesting uk.legal as a (less unsatisfactory) forum for your query. I dunno what your
    most local .legal group is, but it can't be any worse than the snakepit that is uk.legal.

    Tim.

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    Version: 6.0.483 / Virus Database: 279 - Release Date: 19/05/03
     
  13. Barry Gaudet

    Barry Gaudet Guest

    Raymo853 <[email protected]> wrote:
    : The parking lot is not responsible for what the drivers inside the lot do unless they made the
    : building poorly.

    I wonder about that. Wouldn't a parking lot, especially one that was an enclosed building have some
    implied duty to take reasonable care of it's customers property? By accepting payment they are
    implicitly accepting some level of responsibiliy for it.

    Even if they do have have a lengthy 'We not responsible for anything' disclaimer that you had to
    sign a judge might still rule that regardless of that they failed to exercise reasonable care.

    It wouldn't be a slam dunk but if you could convince a judge that there level of due diligence was
    lacking you might win. If the damage did indeed occur very close to the attendants both then you
    might have a case.

    --
    'They paved paradise And put up a parking lot' -Joni Mitchell
     
  14. Pat

    Pat Guest

    x-no-archive:yes

    > On Sat, 24 May 2003, waxxer wrote:
    >
    > > I hear you Jesse, and I wish you luck. In fact it would restore what little faith I have in
    > > humanity if someone stepped forward. I doubt this will happen.

    > Oh, for crying out loud. I don't need to get a complex about people over this. I just need some
    > legal advice & that's what I'm going to get. Small claims court is probably my best option.

    Jesse, I just went through a small claims court, filing against a woman who pushed a shopping cart
    into the side of my car. I did not blame Albertson's, BUT I did take notice of the security camera.
    This ultimately didn't help in my case because the damage happened on one of the last days of the
    month and Albertson's retapes over its security tapes at the first of every month---but, it might
    help in yours. The company who owns the parking lot may even be glad to help out in your case
    because you would be pursuing an individual, not the company.

    Also, I can tell you this: be armed with every bit of proof you can pull together. Small Claims
    judges hear 'way too much emotion and only want to hear the bare bones of the case.

    Pat
     
  15. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Barry Gaudet" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Raymo853 <[email protected]> wrote:
    > : The parking lot is not responsible for what the drivers inside the lot do unless they made the
    > : building poorly.
    >
    > I wonder about that. Wouldn't a parking lot, especially one that was an enclosed building have
    > some implied duty to take reasonable care of it's customers property? By accepting payment they
    > are implicitly accepting some level of responsibiliy for it.
    >
    > Even if they do have have a lengthy 'We not responsible for anything' disclaimer that you had to
    > sign a judge might still rule that regardless of that they failed to exercise reasonable care.
    >
    > It wouldn't be a slam dunk but if you could convince a judge that there level of due diligence
    > was lacking you might win. If the damage did indeed occur very close to the attendants both then
    > you might have a case.
    >
    > --
    > 'They paved paradise And put up a parking lot' -Joni Mitchell

    I doubt it. You're at the mall and somebody is speeding negligently and hits your car, killing a
    passenger in your car. What odds of success will you have if you try to sue the mall owner for this
    accident?? On what grounds are they responsible?? If the mall parking lot is designed with a normal
    amount of care and expertise and speed limits are posted blah blah blah (basically, if it's like
    every other parking lot in the country..) then you'll get jack from the mall owner, and this is a
    far more serious incident than backing up over a bicycle! The owner of the parking lot is not
    providing a security service for your car. They're providing a legal place for you to store your
    vehicle. The attendant is there to take your money and make sure everyone pays, not to provide
    security. This guy has to find the person who hit his bike. Everything else is just nonsense, a way
    to try and blame anyone and get money from anybody.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  16. Waxxer

    Waxxer Guest

    So Jesse,

    Who are you going to serve the notice to appear? All POSSIBLE parties involved? You have no
    case--PERIOD. You cannot file in small claims unless you have a complaint against a specific person.
    You have a bent bike and no evidence as to who did it. Your belief that someone is going to right
    you a check is laughable!

    Thank god you can't sue people on suspicion of having done something wrong.

    Hell, the person who crushed your bike may not even know they did it. It happens all the time in
    parking areas. The police are called, show up and say "wow that's too bad. Better contact your
    insurance agent.".

    Do you have any witness account? Did you see who did it? Even if you identify the car by paint
    transfer that does not identify the driver. 0+0+0=0

    Let us know when you get the check.

    "S. Anderson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Barry Gaudet" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Raymo853 <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > : The parking lot is not responsible for what the drivers inside the lot do unless they made the
    > > : building poorly.
    > >
    > > I wonder about that. Wouldn't a parking lot, especially one that was an enclosed building have
    > > some implied duty to take reasonable care of it's customers property? By accepting payment they
    > > are implicitly accepting some level of responsibiliy for it.
    > >
    > > Even if they do have have a lengthy 'We not responsible for anything' disclaimer that you had
    > > to sign a judge might still rule that regardless of that they failed to exercise reasonable
    > > care.
    > >
    > > It wouldn't be a slam dunk but if you could convince a judge that there level of due diligence
    > > was lacking you might win. If the damage did
    indeed
    > > occur very close to the attendants both then you might have a case.
    > >
    > > --
    > > 'They paved paradise And put up a parking lot' -Joni Mitchell
    >
    > I doubt it. You're at the mall and somebody is speeding negligently and hits your car, killing a
    > passenger in your car. What odds of success will you have if you try to sue the mall owner for
    > this accident?? On what grounds are they responsible?? If the mall parking lot is designed with a
    > normal amount of care and expertise and speed limits are posted blah blah blah (basically, if it's
    > like every other parking lot in the country..)
    then
    > you'll get jack from the mall owner, and this is a far more serious
    incident
    > than backing up over a bicycle! The owner of the parking lot is not providing a security service
    > for your car. They're providing a legal
    place
    > for you to store your vehicle. The attendant is there to take your money and make sure everyone
    > pays, not to provide security. This guy has to
    find
    > the person who hit his bike. Everything else is just nonsense, a way to
    try
    > and blame anyone and get money from anybody.
    >
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Scott..
     
  17. On Sun, 25 May 2003, Raymo853 wrote:

    > The parking lot is not responsible for what the drivers inside the lot do unless they made the
    > building poorly.

    They may be responsible for what contractors do to property on their lot while the contractors are
    working for them. It's not possible that any other driver was involved. It has to be a vehicle that
    was being used by contractors or whomever the lot permited in the special bike area. That's the
    situation.

    > You have to find the car/SUV that hit your bike. The driver of that vehicle made the mistake, stop
    > looking for people with deep pockets to blame and blame the person that made the mistake.

    & why kick the dog on the leash, when you can fine the owner?
     
  18. On Sun, 25 May 2003, S. Anderson wrote:

    > I doubt it. You're at the mall and somebody is speeding negligently and hits your car, killing a
    > passenger in your car. What odds of success will you have if you try to sue the mall owner for
    > this accident??

    No, the mall hires some bozo named S. Anderson. He pulls a pipe out of the ceiling & drops it on a
    windshield, & then leaves it for the driver the find, riding off saying "Cheers" to the attendant.
    The mall claims no responsibility & doesn't know nothing from nothing but it's evident where the
    pipe came from & that the mall had work done on its plumbing. Now, let's see you trip pulling your
    pants off for this one.
     
  19. Waxxer

    Waxxer Guest

    No case.

    When you get the check make a copy and post it with a URL. This I gotta see! The only way you will
    get money is if someone admits to you they did it.

    "Jesse Nowells" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > On Sun, 25 May 2003, S. Anderson wrote:
    >
    > > I doubt it. You're at the mall and somebody is speeding negligently and hits your car, killing a
    > > passenger in your car. What odds of success
    will
    > > you have if you try to sue the mall owner for this accident??
    >
    > No, the mall hires some bozo named S. Anderson. He pulls a pipe out of the ceiling & drops it on a
    > windshield, & then leaves it for the driver the find, riding off saying "Cheers" to the attendant.
    > The mall claims no responsibility & doesn't know nothing from nothing but it's evident where the
    > pipe came from & that the mall had work done on its plumbing. Now, let's see you trip pulling your
    > pants off for this one.
     
  20. On Sun, 25 May 2003, waxxer wrote:

    > No case. When you get the check make a copy and post it with a URL. This I gotta see! The only way
    > you will get money is if someone admits to you they did it.

    You've signified that you have a pessimistic vision of humanity. Evidently, that dark cloud is
    self-generated.
     
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