Visitor Question

Employee damaged my vehicle with paint…

Submitted By: Anonymous (Newburgh, Indiana)

I work for a home builder. An employee was cleaning their paint sprayer outside next to my black truck. They were careless and the worker covered the entire truck in small speckles of white paint. I received an estimate of $8000 to fix the damage. My boss has filed a claim with his business’s insurance company.

Is my boss’s insurance company required to make the check out to the owner of the vehicle, or the body shop in which the estimate was provided from? Is there anything else I should know? Thanks.

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 Anonymous,

From the standpoint of the lienholder:

When your car is damaged by the fault of another person, payments from insurance companies for repairs are normally made out to the car owner and the lienholder. This called a “third party” claim payment. A typical lienholder is a finance company, a bank, credit union, etc. The insurance company makes the checks out in this manner so they can be sure repairs are made, and made properly.

The lienholder is just trying to protect their investment. If the insurance company check was made out only to the car owner, and the car owner kept the money instead of having the car repaired, the lienholder would likely be stuck with a car worth much less than the actual value of the car, or the lien itself.

From the standpoint of the body shop:

Let’s say your car was damaged by another party. The car was paid off so there is no lienholder. A body shop repaired your car. The insurance company made the check out to the car owner, but the owner kept the money and spent it, forgetting to pay the body shop.

While the body shop would have its own lien on the car, the shop is not in the business of accepting cars for payment.  They need the money to pay for employees’ salaries,  rent, and other overhead. That is why insurance companies almost always make checks out to the car owner and the financial lender, or in the absence of of a financial lienholder, to the body shop.

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: October 19, 2017

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