Minivan vs. Dumpster...
It was 9:30 at night and I was coming home from the store. I was turning onto my street when the corner of my car struck the corner of a dumpster parked in a lane of traffic. The dumpster had no cones, lighting, reflectors or marks of any kind warning of its location. It is a dark brown dumpster and was barely visible with headlights.
Several neighbors told me that they called the homeowners association on numerous occasions because they almost hit the dumpster as well. The van had to be towed and had $11,000 worth of damage. The police report shows the dumpster as a hazard and also shows it was in a lane of traffic. The report also reflects that I had NO contributing factors.
I am a stay at home mom. My husband has had to take time off to care for me and my baby. I went to the doctor due to swelling in my lower back, pain in my neck and foot. I also had heavy bruising. I was given a steroid shot and three prescriptions. Two of the prescriptions are narcotic in nature and I could not take them because I had to care for my child.
I had back surgery in 2006, so I am concerned about my back and how this new injury will effect my previous injury. I am now without my minivan until at least November 1st. I notified the dumpster company of all of this and they called me today wanting to get more information and take pictures. I know you can't say for sure, but I think I have a case.
Do you think I have a case? If so, what kind of a settlement should I expect? Or what is the least I should take? Is the dumpster company alone responsible or does the homeowner's association insurance cover something like this? Also, how will my previous back injury come into play? Thanks for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Minivan vs. Dumpster...":
Melissa (Nashville, TN):
Your injury claim may be against the homeowners association AND the dumpster company. The homeowners association may have had a legal duty to take legal action against the dumpster company. Before doing anything else you must seek medical care. You will have plenty of time to pursue your property damage and personal injury claim.
You appear to have a legitimate right to have the dumpster owner's insurance company pay for a rental while your minivan is being repaired.
Because of your pre-existing injury you may run into some challenges in your injury claim. The insurance companies will likely take the position your new injuries are merely an aggravation of your prior injury.
There are some injury cases which can be handled without the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your case doesn't seem to qualify as one of them. It would be in your best interests to consult with an attorney at your earliest opportunity. Most injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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