THE SAFER OPTION? A woman in Germany has won a R17 000 claim against a car-wash that crashed her car. Perhaps this would have been more fun - and cheaper! Image: Wheels24
DORTMUND, Germany - A woman who desperately honked for help before her car rear-ended another vehicle in a German automated car wash in Paderborn near here has been awarded damages for a nightmare come true.
As she sat in her car watching the giant whirling brushes the vehicle in front become jammed but the car wash conveyer kept dragging the woman's car forward until the vehicles collided. Damage repairs cost the woman the equivalent of about R17 000.
'AT OWNER'S RISK'
In evidence, she said she used her car's horn to try to attract attention but none of the car-wash staff responded.
The car-wash company's insurer refused to cough up for the damage, arguing it was too expensive to install fail-safe equipment such as light sensors or trip switches, or employ more staff.
It said visits to the car wash were at the vehicle owner's risk.
On appeal, a state court in Paderborn rejected the insurer's excuse and overruled a lower court. It said car-wash conveyers had to be built so they could be stopped instantly if "an obvious danger" arose.
Pay up, the court told the insurer.