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Vehicle damaged by newly installed "Gate Arm.

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Bloos550, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Bloos550

    Bloos550 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Good evening, I am new here so please move this thread if it is within the wrong sub-forum. My apologies in advance!

    My apartment community installed a new "Gate Arm" yesterday morning, prior there was just a gate.
    Upon coming home to our community, we notice this new gate arm and that the arm is facing straight up towards the sky and not down blocking the gate like most gate arms would. I proceed to use my remote gate opener(which is an optional $75 more than the card key they normally give) and as I'm proceeding through the gate the gate arm slams down on the cab of my truck. It then bounces 2 more times off my roof and leaves 3 large dents in the outer edges of the roof.
    So I call the manager of the community after inspecting the damage to the truck in an attempt to get this resolved. She goes on to tell me that any damage to residents vehicles caused by the gates are not covered by the community and that there is a sign posted before the gates, which she is right, the sign is there. However she continues to disown the situation and asks me to bring my remote gate opener to the leasing office the next morning to compare to the "Gate log" to see if I actually clicked the remote to open the gate. (Apparently the gate arm is in place to stop other vehicles from "chasing vehicles through the gate behind them").
    So I do just that, I get a call a couple hours later and she confirmed that my remote gate opener was used to open the gate and they can't seem to replicate the events that caused the damage to my truck and the management corporation that owns this property and many others in this area will not cover the damages unless they can replicate the events, at which point it would be a malfunction of their property.
    She also goes on to tell me that the reason the gate arm was pointing straight up was that another vehicle had opened the gate and never went through the gate. She explains the gate arm is programmed to close after each vehicle passes under the gate arm and the vehicle is clear. So this vehicle not passing under the gate through the electronics powering the gate arm out of it's normal pattern.

    As far as the damage goes on my truck, because it is a Ford F-150 with an aluminum body and the place at which the gate struck the truck, it will require attention from a body shop to get the dents out and repaint/blend the roof. So the simpler, more cost efficient and much less hassle solution of taking the truck to a Paintless Dent Removal business is completely out of the question.

    I'm now looking over my options of taking this to a small claims court through my county and seeing what I can get done. My questions to you all is that do I have a case worth pursuing in this situation?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You alone must decide if you wish to chase the kitty's tail by going to small claims.

    If this had happened to one of my vehicles, I'd have immediately contacted my auto insurer and filed a claim.

    The insurer MIGHT decide to subrogate upon my behalf against the property owner.

    Whether my insurer chooses such a strategy would be none of my concern because my vehicle would have been restored to its previous pristine condition.
     
    Highwayman likes this.
  3. Bloos550

    Bloos550 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your input. However my deductible is slightly less than the cost to get the vehicle fixed by my dealership's body shop. The quote I received was at cost since I work at the dealership. So going that route, I'm still out of pocket $1000 at least (my deductible), which at this point, is a lot of money to me.

    I guess my real question is, in you all's opinion, is this case worth presenting in a small claims court or am I just wasting time and $100 dollars?
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That's for you to decide.

    Trouble is, the community might not be liable (not for the disclaimer). Since it was a newly installed gate the blame might be on the contractor or vendor who installed it.

    Unfortunately, you would need to hire an expert ($$$$ that you don't get back) to examine the gate and testify in court.

    Now I have a question for you. Why do you have a $1000 deductible when coming up with that kind of money is so painful to you?
     
  5. Bloos550

    Bloos550 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Because at the time of getting the policy, $1000 deductible wasn't an issue. However after my Fiance getting laid off over the summer and her also being a full time nursing student, money has been tight seeing as how I'm the primary bread winner. Which as a sales person, your weekly check is always fluctuating.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Great question that I always ask others, too.

    The apparent savings isn't worth the risk, especially if your money's tight.

    I sat with one of my sons when he was about 19, we played with various scenarios, and he could easily see the $5,000, $1,000 deductible isn't worth the risk when wages are low, and debts are growing.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    If you haven't already, photograph the damage.
    Get as least two estimates for repair. Write a polite letter to the property management explaining the situation and request the amount of the lower estimate.
    If they refuse to negotiate with you and resolve the problem then consider small claims. To me it seems negligent to have a gate arm that does not stop if a vehicle is under it. I don't know if it is common or not.
     
    army judge likes this.
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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