If a drunk driver hit my car while it was legally parked, what should I do?

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If a drunk driver hit my car while it was legally parked, what should I do?

Car was parked on the side of the road, drunk driver came through hit a parked truck then took out the side of my car. My insurance company has totaled out my car and now I’m left with out a vehicle.

Asked on May 4, 2012 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were paid by your insurance company, there probably is nothing you can do legally. A drunk driver is almost by definition at fault in an accident; an at fault driver can be sued for the loss or property damage he causes you; however, the amount of the loss when your car is totaled is limited to the car's then-current fair market (or blue book) value, plus any direct out of pocket costs (e.g. cost to have it towed); you cannot double recover the money; so if you insurer has totalled the car and presumably paid its then-current fair market value, you have already received most or all of what you are entitled to, and so cannot recover more money from the other driver.

If you were not paid the full value and/or out of pocket costs, you could sue the driver for any amounts you were not paid. Not you cannot sue for the cost or price of a new car--the at fault driver is not obligated to buy you a replacement vehicle, only to (if you sue and win) compensate you for the value of what was destroyed, to the extent you have not already been compensated by insurance.


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