Do I Have the Right to Have Compensation Paid to Me Instead of a Body Shop?

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I washed my pickup in a self-serve car wash bay finished and pushed the door open button. As I passed through the exit the overhead door slammed down on the top of my cab. The owner told me to get an estimate which I did at a local body shop and brought it back to him. We then went to the door and tested the operation by putting our hand in front of the sensor after the door started to come down. The door traveled about 6 more feet very fast before it went back up and the owner said he would write a check to the body shop and not to me personally. Do I have a choice to have the truck fixed at a different shop or maybe not at all? Do I have the right to make him issue the check directly to me for compensation? There is no loan on the vehicle and I live in Minnesota.

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Do you have a right to make him issue the check directly to you? That is a very fact-specific question, and would require not only knowing the various laws of Minnesota (which may or may not include not only contract law, business tort law, and even laws specific to the liability of a car wash), but would also require a lawyer reviewing what exactly was the contract, both explicit and implied, to which you agreed when you entered the car wash, inserted the money into the machine, etc..

However, that said, even if you do have such a right, it would almost certainly cost you far more to enforce that right, even without a lawyer, than the amount of the check. Frankly, the owner is offering to do the right thing, no questions asked – why you would want to mess with that is beyond us. Also, in doing so, he is also protecting himself – for all he knows you may have noticed the defective bay door, and intentionally put your truck under it to get money out of him (we are sure that you didn’t do that, just explaining why it’s not unreasonable for him to say he will pay the body shop directly).



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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"