‘Every Wednesday, at my place of business, we have landscapers that come in during business hours to mow the lawn and trim bushes and such. The vehicles in the private parking lot park up to the edge of the grass; sometimes front bumpers actually hang out on to the front edge of the grass. No one from the landscaping company has ever made any effort to come in to the offices and ask employees to move cars out of the way. So last Wednesday, my front bumper of my vehicle was scratched. I did not see it occur but noticed it the next morning when I was at work. Also, a bit of information for you, my car just came out of the shop for repairs to the rear hatch, where it was also washed and detailed thoroughly. When I picked up my vehicle from the shop, I made sure to do a thorough look around to make sure everything looked okay since I had to sign off on my vehicle.
After talking with the landscape company owner, he had told me that I cannot prove it was his workers and it did not happen somewhere else. The owner said he asked all the workers and they said they did not do it. The owner was telling me that his supervisor was complaining to him about how our vehicles hang over the grass, making it impossible to cut the grass properly. At the same time, he believes I am being honest. The owner has said he is willing to pay half the damages of my vehicle. I told him I would like to see his lawn equipment so that I can line up the bolts and such to the scratches on my vehicle. He said that was not a problem but apparently it was since the supervisor, who got very rude with me, would not let me look at the equipment at all. I got pictures of it anyway. I haven’t heard from the owner since. It has been two days now. I did find a model of the lawn mower that the company uses at a local store. I went and took measurements, which do appear to match up with the scratches on my vehicle.
My question to you is this. Do I have a case if I take the owner to small claims? I figure if the workers can’t come in to the office and ask people to move their vehicles, they should be sure to stay away from the vehicles to not cause damage.
Any information will be very much appreciated.’
The facts as you describe them sound to be mostly circumstantial. Without a witness, or something that proves conclusively (instead of by inference), that the damage to your car was done by the landscapers, you would probably have a hard time winning in regular court. Small claims court, however, can be (not necessarily is, but can be) a somewhat different animal, where you could take your chances, and you might prevail.
However, that said, the owner has offered to pay half with no further proof and, frankly, that was probably a pretty good deal given the lack of direct evidence and considering that you know that the landscapers come every Wednesday and work near the cars, and yet you made no effort to protect your car by moving it.