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To expect Mum to pay up after 4YO child scratched every panel on our car

(570 Posts)
LupoLoopy Sat 07-May-16 15:42:44

Context: My wife works at a nursery school as an assistant.. Her car was parked in the staff car park, which the kids egress though when they leave, under parental supervision.

During lunch time pick-up, one of the departing 4 year old's took a rock and scratched every panel and light fixture on her car, all whilst his Mum was standing within 6M of the car, chatting to a friend.

The incident was captured on CCTV.

The cost of a proper repair is so close to the value of the car, I fear it being written off, which is something we could afford but would hurt us a lot financially.

Although the damage is only cosmetic, the car was pristine before the incident (I'm a fussy sod who takes good care of his stuff) and I don't see why we should tolerate driving a 'shed' around 'for the children'.

We're trying to seek restitution from the School's insurance (if it will cover it) but to cover our butts, we've reported the incident to the police (so and official record exists) and reported it to our insurer.

If we have to use our car insurance AND we're fortunate enough to not have the car written off, it's going to tank my partners insurance premiums.

Frankly, I want to encourage the police to be fully involved and start proceedings immediately for civil action via the small claims court. I just dont think I can have confidence that Mum is going to be wired in the same way I am - i.e. it's her liability and don't see why we should be financially crippled by her parental inattention.


giggleshizz Sat 07-May-16 15:45:57

Similar thing happened to a friend who worked at something similar to a children's home (non UK). A child jumped on the roof of her car and buckled it. It did not go via the employer, the parents had to cough up! So no, YANBU. Assuming the parents already know what damage their child has caused with it being caught on CCTV have they not already offered to pay?

TooGood2BeFalse Sat 07-May-16 15:48:22

No I don't think you are unreasonable at all. Ridiculous behaviour on the Mum's part (who DOESN'T have their eyes on a 4 year old child in a car park?!) and she should take full responsibility for the damage.

Has she said anything to you?If so,what?Assuming she must be well aware if the police have been informed, just curious whether she has an 'excuse' or is admitting her error..

NannawifeofBaldr Sat 07-May-16 15:50:00

I can't believe the family hasn't already offered to pay!

LittleNelle Sat 07-May-16 15:50:40

Why would your car need to be written off for a scratch? Surely it still works fine?

BillSykesDog Sat 07-May-16 15:51:32

YABU if you haven't tried to sort it out informally with the mother before taking it straight to court. It doesn't sound from your post like you've spoken to her.

Drquin Sat 07-May-16 15:53:18

Littlenelle it may work fine so isn't mechanically a write-off but if the cost of repairs is high relative to the insured value, then it may be deemed "beyond economical repair".

Lemonade1 Sat 07-May-16 15:53:43

Not aibu but sounds like you've not even asked mum for payment?! If not why not?

Littlenelle - a write off means damage totals more than market cost of car!!

Oysterbabe Sat 07-May-16 15:54:02

The school's insurance will cover it.

pocketsaviour Sat 07-May-16 15:54:27

Nelle a vehicle is written off if the cost of repair (parts and labour) exceeds the value of the car. It sounds like OP's car will require at least 4 new panels, possibly more.

My H once scraped my car down the side of a bus, knocking off the wing mirror and leaving a big dented scratch in the front passenger wing and door. It was written off sad We just took the write off value and repaired it with parts from the scrapyard, had it MOT'd again, job's a good-un. Might be an option for you, OP?

pocketsaviour Sat 07-May-16 15:54:56

Slow typist here!

MarthaCliffYouCunt Sat 07-May-16 15:55:55

Does the woman even know her child did it yet?

insancerre Sat 07-May-16 15:55:55

Its not a write off if it still drives
I think the best bet is to clam from the school insurance

winewolfhowls Sat 07-May-16 15:56:15

Littlenelle, someone dinted the boot of my car and it cost 800 pounds for a new panel so I can easily see every panel being equivalent to writing off car.

Yanbu op I would be fuming. I would overlook one scratch to one panel because kids happen but so much damage is awful.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 07-May-16 15:57:58

YANBU, though I would guess that if it that expensive maybe the mother can't afford to fix it either?

Oysterbabe Sat 07-May-16 15:59:00

There is such a thing as a roadworthy write off, it seems a couple of people don't understand that.

Floggingmolly Sat 07-May-16 15:59:32

Of course she should pay. Don't be surprised if she refuses on the grounds that he was just "expressing himself" though.

ForeverLivingMyArse Sat 07-May-16 16:00:28

Inscan, you're wrong!

RaeSkywalker Sat 07-May-16 16:00:52


BurningBridges Sat 07-May-16 16:03:31

you need to tell us what the mum said when you asked her about it.

TooLazyToWriteMyOwnFuckinPiece Sat 07-May-16 16:04:36

Wow the bill will be thousands then, and unlike with a car the family won't have insurance on their four year old!
There must be a cheaper way to repair the damage than new panels, surely?

Frazzled2207 Sat 07-May-16 16:04:41

Yanbu. However the first thing to do is speak to the mother surely.
If this was my child I'd be horrified and pay up.

shinynewusername Sat 07-May-16 16:05:12

Legally, I am afraid YABU. The law considers the actions of young children - like cats - to be beyond their owners' control wink. Morally, of course she should pay but I don't fancy your chances of getting cash out of her.

Makesomethingupyouprick Sat 07-May-16 16:05:30

What do you expect the Police to do about a four year old scratching your car?

LupoLoopy Sat 07-May-16 16:05:40

@insancerre - it's a write off if the insurance company deems it beyond economical repair, should I attempt a claim. I will have an option on buying it back, but it's a whole load of grief/stress we weren't expecting.

Of course, we could drive it around scratched. I don't see why we should though? If I scratched someone else's car with my bag/shopping trolley/dog lead, I'd be expected to pay for it. I fail to see how this is any different really?

Expanded context: Mum knows. She has been informed by the school and is coming in for a meeting where first talks will happen.

Value of car - £6-8k, depending on which book you use
Cost of repair £4.5k-8k, depending on what the garage(s) say come Monday.

My dearest wife is lovely soul, who unfortunately has a tendency to roll over in this kind of situation, being fearful of upsetting anyone [myself excluded ;) ]. Hence me wanting to research our legal options, which I would activate after** Tuesday if necessary.

Why did I report to the police so promptly? Because I needed to report to our insurer (to cover our butts) within 24 hours of the incident and having a reference number really helps in such matters.

Also, I've been burned on cash settlements previously where people act all shocked that repairs cost as much as they do and plead poverty. All that horse trading nonsense is avoided by going orthodox.

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