What to do if I found out my car was a total loss vehicle but that was never disclosed to me?

I bought a vehicle with a clean title only to find out when I tried to trade it in, that it was a total loss vehicle. The owner of the auto lot first wanted to reconcile now he is not being as easy to help fix the problem. Can I sue?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under General Practice, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the dealer, lot, etc. which sold the car to you either knew, or reasonably should have known, that the car was a total loss vehicle, you would likely have grounds to sue them. The suit would be based on fraud--on their having either affirmatively misrepresented a material (important) fact,  or having omitted to state a material fact which they had, in this context, a duty to disclose. In that event, you could seek monetary damages, such as the difference in value between the car as is and the amount you'd paid for. However, if the dealer, etc. which sold you the car did not know that it was a total loss, and reasonably would not have known, then you probably do not have a cause of action or claim against them, because they did not do anything wrong. Thus, their knowledge--or at least the knowledge a reasonable dealer, etc. in their position should have had-- is a critical element in determining liabilitu.

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