What can I do if my new car was hit in the parking lot at work and although the at-fault driver’s insurer is paying to fix it, I still lose money on the value of the car?

I would like to receive the difference if the price of new car and the price dealer is willing to give me for my car. How do I do this?

Asked on July 11, 2014 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You could potentially recover the diminution in value of your car. For example, say that its blue book value if it had not been in an accident was $20k; say that its value, even if repaired, due to having been in an accident, is only $17k--you could possibly recover the extra $3k, by suing the at-fault driver for the money. (His insurer does not owe you; their obligation is to pay for the repairs, not for a reduction in value--you have to sue the at-fault driver directly for the money.)

To get the money, you will have to file a lawsuit and win in court.

However, you cannot recover the difference in price between what the dealer will give you for your car and the cost of a new car. If someone damages your property, the most they can be held liable for is the then-current value of the property; there is no legal obligation to help you buy a new version of that property.


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