According to a recent news report, a car drove into the Silver Dollar Restaurant in Collinsville, Oklahoma. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
The police started an investigation, but witnesses told them the car that went inside first grazed another car, went over a curb and through the intersection before it hit the Silver Dollar Cafe.
“It didn’t really look like he slowed down until he hit the building, enough force to go right inside it,” witness Gary Nunley said.
Nunley was across the street on the sidewalk.
“Surprised me to see that, but when I saw the whole front of the building collapse, implode, and a huge cloud of dust roll across the street. . . .”
The car was barely visible under the roof with a large beam down on the trunk.
A firefighter told News On 6 the car knocked down the main support pillar at the front of the building. He said the next support pillar is what stopped the car.
The event offers all sorts of potential insurance issues.
The driver should have liability insurance coverage for property damage. Of course, the minimum limits of insurance coverage in Oklahoma require only $25,000 of insurance. The photograph shows extensive damage to the building. However, the news report does not estimate the damages. It is unknown if there is sufficient liability insurance to pay for everything.
Damage alone isn’t enough to require the auto liability insurer to pay for the loss. The driver must have also been negligent in some fashion. Hitting a building with your car leads to an assumption that proper attention wasn’t being paid. Nonetheless, negligence must be proven for there to be responsibility for the accident.
The police investigation will reveal more, but the obvious questions are “what was the driver doing, and where was he going?”. If the driver was working in the scope of his employment, then the employer may have some potential exposure to the damages by virtue of the employment status. Depending on the type of coverage of the employer, there might or might not be coverage for the losses.
Assuming the restaurant leased or rented the space, there could be a question about division of the liability insurance. For example, if the building was owned by someone other than the restaurant, there may be disputing claims for the available insurance. The building owner would potentially have a claim for structural damage while the restaurant might have its own claims for damaged equipment and downtime.
If the building was owned by someone other than the restaurant, the owner may have property damage insurance providing protection. We constantly advise our business clients to purchase insurance for the unexpected circumstances. Here is just one more example. One could assume the building owner went to bed the night before without any concern a car was going to crash into the structure the next morning.
The restaurant, like most businesses, hopefully purchased property insurance with some form of business interruption coverage. The insurance policy would usually cover the business personal property allowing replacement of the items. However, loss of revenue while the facility is closed is another matter. Business interruption claims can be a little more complicated than property damage to equipment, chairs, and tables.
Still yet is the vehicle and the damage to it. The owner, who may or may not be the driver, may have collision coverage for the car. If so, payment may be available for the vehicle. Of course some people elect not to buy collision coverage if there isn’t a loan on the vehicle.
We haven’t touched on health insurance, disability insurance, or workers’ compensation insurance. All three types of insurance might be implicated depending upon the facts and circumstances. The various insurance companies who pay the claims will probably want to subrogate or sue to recover the amounts they have to pay.
It’s amazing how many types of insurance can come into play with a simple automobile accident with no bodily injuries.