Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Runaway shopping cart

I went grocery shopping with my 3 year old daughter today.
While I was unloading grocery bags into my car, my grocery cart (with my daughter in it) turned 90 degrees, rolled about 2 feet down a gentle slope, and bumped the car next to me. I was able to grab the cart at just about the exact moment that it touched the other car whose owner was looking through her trunk and talking on her cell phone. I didn’t see any damage, so I apologized and went back to loading groceries in my car. “There’s a dent!” said the woman. We both bent over the spot where the cart had bumped her car, and sure enough if you looked in the right light at the right angle, there was a mark about the size of my fingernail. “This is a brand new BMW! I am going to have to get this repaired!” said the woman. Then she went back to talking on her cell phone. I put my cart away and put my daughter in her car seat, and to be polite I apologized again and asked the woman if she needed anything. She wanted my insurance information. I pointed out that I wasn’t driving, and therefore my car insurance wasn’t appropriate. In the end I gave her my name and phone number and hoped that she wold decide the tiny mark wasn’t worth her time and effort. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. An hour later I got a call from her insurance wanting to know my side of the story and saying that they were planning to investigate the incident. What is the precedent for this sort of accident? If she decides to have the panel of her new BMW replaced and rents a car to get around while hers is in the shop am I going to be made to pay for it? Help!

I suppose you could ask your car insurance agent or perhaps your homeowner’s insurance agent if there’s any coverage available to you.

Perhaps talk to the grocery store manager?

Ultimately, though, you did the damage to her car and are responsible.

1 Like

That can be easily repaired by the paintless dent removal folks for a couple hundred. No painting or panel replacement required and you’ll never see it. But you are responsible. Either your homeowners or auto would cover it so talk to your agent is all and let them argue with the other guy. You shouldn’t get involved. Hopefully you have the same agent for both, which you should, since you should also have an umbrella policy.

1 Like

Please read Bing’s comments.

Bing is correct, and the total repair cost should be fairly low.
However, what bothers me the most about this issue is that it appears the OP thinks that she isn’t responsible for fixing the car of this innocent bystander. Hopefully, my interpretation is wrong.

There is an epidemic of failure to take responsibility for one’s actions nowadays, and I hope that the OP isn’t one of those folks who is “never to blame”. Please tell me that I have misinterpreted the OP’s position on this matter!

1 Like

VDC, you have not.

VDC…your thinking is right on the money.

When my wifes 96 Accord was less then 1 week old…just as we were walking back to the car from grocery shopping…this woman unloads her cart…then just pushes it away …right into the side of my wifes car causing a scratch about 3’ long. Needless to say I was ANGRY. I stopped her from leaving the parking lot. She got out of her car was was extremely rude…saying it wasn’t her fault and it wasn’t even her shopping car. I told her wait while I call the police…She didn’t want to wait…but I refused to move (she was going to have to run me over if she wanted to leave). Cops show up in 5 minutes…I explain the situation to one of the cops while she yelled at the other. All the time saying it wasn’t her shopping car. One of the cops then pointed the camera’s out to he and said…let’s look at the security tapes. Her attitude completely changed. She then apologized… The police got all her information for me…When she left…the cop said to me. “Good thing her attitude changed…because those camera’s haven’t worked for years.”

1 Like

Well said, VDC.

Sacarah, you have (albiet unintentionally) damaged someone else’s property. You are legally and morally responsible for whatever it takes to "“make her whole”, which means to get the damage corrected as if it had never happened.

Your auto insurance may not cover it, but not for the reason you think. It may not cover it because your car was not involved…a shopping cart was. Had your car rolled and hit hers, your car insurance would cover it.

Check with your car and home insurers. But whether you have coverage or not, own up to the damage and accept full financial responsibility.

1 Like

I don’t see your automobile or homeowners policy covering this accident but you can ask.
The complaint, with the way it’s worded and the exclamation point on the word help, also comes across to me as someone who is looking for a way out more than anything else.

With a little extra care the cart should never have rolled away. The problem was caused by the OP so the OP needs to shoulder the burden, even if that repair becomes major league expensive and with a rental car involved. Small repairs and touch-ups are not so simple anymore.

1 Like

Home owners SHOULD cover this.

He detained someone against their will. That is a crime unless he was detaining someone who committed a felony.

I say blame the grocery store and their carts, let them deal with it!

I kid, I kid; have to move out of California…

He detained someone against their will. That is a crime unless he was detaining someone who committed a felony.

Good thing the cops either disagree with you, or don’t particularly care when all he did was block her car. She could still have left, which would be a crime in most states, btw.

1 Like

If the paint is not damaged the it can be repaired using PDR. Paintless dent removal as long as there is access on the inside. Costs about $80-100.

1 Like

And with a new car, most of the time one has collision insurance. This is certainly not something worth getting angry about.

He detained someone against their will. That is a crime unless he was detaining someone who committed a felony.” Wow! Bolt out of the blue alert! I was thinking the very same thing, Keith. I guess my post got lost.

“She could still have left, which would be a crime in most states, btw.”

Well, um, no, it wouldn’t. She wasn’t DRIVING the shopping cart, btw.

Your homeowners or renters policy covers your liability if you cause harm to someone outside of the home. So if auto doesn’t cover it, the homeowners should. That’s why its important to have a policy even if you don’t own much that could be stolen or lost in a fire.

Consider that there is likely to be a fairly substantial deductible at least compared to the cost of repairing a small ding. And it counts the same as any claim against your history. Most of the time it makes more sense to just suck it up and pay out of pocket…

He detained someone against their will. That is a crime unless he was detaining someone who committed a felony.

In NH…leaving the scene of an accident IS A FELONY. Not sure if it applies to shopping carts though.

Well, um, no, it wouldn’t. She wasn’t DRIVING the shopping cart, btw.

Leaving the scene of a property damage accident that you caused without exchanging information, whether you were driving or carelessly hurling shopping carts at cars, is a crime. As you correctly point out, she wasn’t driving, which it can be argued takes the actual property crime from careless driving to criminal damage to property / vandalism, as she intentionally shoved the cart at another car.