Visitor Question

Car totaled by faulty shopping cart rack in parking lot…

Submitted By: Amber (Atlanta, GA)

During my shopping trip there was a storm and the shopping cart carousel/rack was blown into my car and totaled it. The store took over a week to get back to me about it and even sent their adjuster out, just to finally tell me they are not responsible, but the company who installed the carousel is.

I am confused about how the store is not liable and wonder if this is a product liability issue. They gave me the contact number of the installers but they have yet to return my call. I have been in a rental car for 2 weeks now and as you know they are pricey.

I want my rental paid for and I want a small check for my older car (or the exact same older car that was totaled). My biggest frustration is the length of time it took and misinformation. What can I do about this? Is it really not the store’s fault? How can I pursue the installer for this? I’m confused. Thank you for any help you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Amber,

While commercial establishments may be liable for property damage, that liability will depend on the existence of negligence. However, when an “Act of God,” sometimes called a “Force Majeure” occurs, liability may be diminished, or wholly eliminated.

For the principle of Force Majeure to diminish or eliminate liability, it must be proved the party, in this case the shopping center owner, exercised proper care and caution.

A Force Majeure is defined as an extraordinary interruption by a natural cause (as a flood or earthquake) of the usual course of events that experience, prescience, or care cannot reasonably foresee or prevent.

In other words, if the shopping center restrained the shopping carts in an established

manner, which was customary for the restraining of shopping cartss, and an Act of God caused the shopping carts to dislodge, then the shopping center owner may not be liable.

This does not appear to be a product liability case. For product liability to exist there must be proof a product was designed, manufactured or sold in a manner which presents a danger to those who legally use the product. There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of product liability.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 3, 2016

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