Visitor Question

Vehicle damaged by my employer’s landscaping contractor?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Janesville, Wisconsin)

While my 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium vehicle with 1800 miles on it was parked legally at work, during normal work hours, in the designated work parking lot, the company contracted landscaping company hit and scraped the back of my vehicle with their riding lawn mower. This happened on June 6, 2018.

I parked with the back end of my vehicle up to the grass. There is an incline to the grassy area which makes the riding mower tilt and creates more opportunity to impact anything parked there.

I took photos, got an estimate and texted and emailed my employer on 6/8/18. My employer contacted the landscaper on 6/11/18, who sent out a secretary (6/14 or 15?) who was uncooperative, stating lawn mowers are low and couldn’t cause damage to the back of the vehicle. She then lied by saying they didn’t have riders, and there is no way they could have done this.

The Plant Manager and I calmly told her they do use riders as we see them. She then said they couldn’t have used it because it was in the shop (I thought they didn’t have riders.). We then told her we knew they had at least 2 if not 3 riders. Then she said they aren’t allowed to use the riders on that hill (I though they didn’t have riders and the one they “didn’t have” was in the shop.) In the end, she took photos and left.

Since then the Maintenance Manager at my employer has been emailing and the Plant Manager at my employer has been calling the landscaper. I just found out they want to come and talk with me on July 5th.

The Controller at my work is saying my employer is not liable or responsible to pay me for the damage. I do not agree. I was legally parked, working, and their contracted employee damaged my vehicle. I notified work on 6/20 that my vehicle was going in for repairs on 6/23. I was told to proceed.

The vehicle is now fixed. I paid the total $976+ for the repair out of my own pocket. Who is legally responsible to pay for the damage? Thank you.

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.


Dear Anonymous,

To be entitled to compensation from your employer for your property damage would require you to show your employer was negligent in the hiring of the maintenance company. This would be a stretch.

For example, if the subcontractor maintenance company had a reputation for damaging property, and your employer knew, or should have known, then negligence might be imputed to your employer.

In that regard, your employer should have performed due diligence in hiring the maintenance company. Due diligence would have had to be reasonable, and would likely have included checking the maintenance company’s references. More than that would be unreasonable and not required.

You would likely be better served by considering a Small Claims action against the maintenance company. In the State of Wisconsin, Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction to hear cases up to $10,000.

To seek more information about filing a Small Claims lawsuit in the State of Wisconsin, see Wisconsin Guide to Small Claims Court.

Learn more here: Car Accident Property Damage

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


One comment on “Vehicle damaged by my employer’s landscaping contractor?

  1. SS says:

    I was working legally in the school complex of Bryan ISD, TX on 9/16/2021 and parked my car in the school parking lot. On 9/16/2021 my car driver side window was damaged by the Bryan ISD lawn mower person. School administrators gave the name to contact, who is responsible for this damage. I contacted him and he forwarded my email to the Bryan ISD risk management department. They filed a claim with Texas Political Subdivisions Joint Self Insurance Fund and the claim was denied by saying “the claim comes within the governmental immunity granted to Bryan ISD by the Texas Tort Claims Act because mowers, weed-eaters and other lawn maintenance equipment or not considered motor-driven vehicles as defined under Texas Law. Therefore, we are unable to assist you or make payment on your behalf for any property damage you may have sustained”.

    Everyone, including my car insurance company, suggests that file a lawsuit with the lawn mower person in a small court. If I want to go to small court, I will lose my salary for the day if I do not work. On 9/17/2021 I could not got to school because of the car damage and the school did not pay salary for the day with mercy. I replaced the window by paying from my pocket.

    When a lawn mower person mows and a small piece of rock hit on a car glass making a small dot, it can be ignored. When a lawn mower person damages a driver side window glass completely into small pieces while mowing, the law must be changed to make the responsible person/company pay the glass replacement cost. Otherwise Lawn mowing people keep damaging auto glass with out caring about anyone’s car. That day it happened to my car. Another day it can happen to any faculty, staff, student car, whoever parks car in this parking lot. I have photo of the person who damaged my car.

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