Is the insurance company responsible for a repair that may not have been required if the damaged part was not worn?

My car was hit while parked. Immediately afterwards (2nd time driven) it made a strange noise and was parked. The auto repair shop called and asked if the car had suffered an impact. He said the power steering line was ruptured. The insurance company refuses to pay because they say that even if the impact caused the rupture; the line was corroded and a serviceable line would not have broken. I say that if their insured’s actions caused the damage; they must fix it. Who is correct?

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Accident Law, Vermont


Leigh Anne Timiney / Timiney Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Often times it is not a matter of who is correct, it is a matter of what you can prove.  If you are asking to be compensated for the break to the power steering line, the burden will be on you to prove that the line was damaged as a direct result of the impact.  This means you may have to seek testimony or a statement from a qualified mechanic or auto body shop who can state this for you.  It is also posslble if the line were already in a state of disrepair, that this contributed to the eventual break following the impact.  As such, maybe you can work out an agreement with the insurance company to share responsibility and repair costs for repair of the line.  You may want to look at the age and mileage of your vehicle and compare that to the standard for when a power steering line might be expected to break or rupture under normal conditions and normal wear and tear.  If it is not expected to ever break or only under extreme conditions, such as an impact, I think you have a good argument.  Good luck.  

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