Visitor Question

Slid into a gas pump with my car…

Submitted By: Ken (Woodland Park, CO)

I drove into a Safeway Gas station and was pulling up to a pump when my truck slid on the ice into the gas pump, severely damaging my truck and the gas pump.

My question is, who’s fault would it be? Mine for not being able to control my truck when sliding an a sheet of ice and slush, or the gas station for not cleaning the ice and slush so cars don’t slide? Are we both at fault? Any perspective you can give would be much appreciated.

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 Ken,

From the facts you present, the gas station owner, and not you, should be entirely liable for your property damage. The gas station owner had a legal duty to keep his or her premises safe for customers and other visitors legally on the premises. In that regard, the owner had a duty to clear the ice and snow which would have prevented the collision.

There is an exception, however. While the gas station owner had a legal duty to keep his premises ice and snow free, that duty was “conditional.” This means if the owner did everything he could have reasonably done to keep his premises free from ice and snow, including salting or clearing the ice and snow regularly, and the snow and ice accumulated faster than he could remove it, then he may be able to escape liability.

Contact the gas station owner. In most cases, the owner’s name and contact information will be listed right outside the from door, on the lower plane of glass. Report the collision to the owner, and in turn the owner will refer the matter to his insurance company. The insurance company will then begin an investigation.

At the same time, report the collision to your own insurance company. You have a contractual duty to do so. Your insurance company will also investigate the claim, yet not hold the claim against you.

If the gas station owner’s insurance company refuses to pay your claim, you can ask your insurance company to pay, and they will in turn “subrogate” against the has station owner. To subrogate means they will seek reimbursement from the gas station owner or his insurance company. In that case, once again, the claim will not be held against you by your insurance company.

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: February 8, 2014

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