Can I recover damages from theat-fault party if there was previous overlapping damage to the vehicle?

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Can I recover damages from theat-fault party if there was previous overlapping damage to the vehicle?

I sustained damage to my car months ago, filed a claim. Insurance company sent cash settlement prior to any decision to repair. I performed partial repairs, planned additional at next oil change. Then a driver ran a stop sign and hit me. The same major parts listed for replacement in the previous damage were destroyed, so would have had to be replaced again even if I had finished repairs. My insurance will not reimburse me for the difference (my 1st $500 deductible), though I would not be out that money if the second accident hadn’t occurred. Can I successfully sue the driver for this money?

Asked on December 11, 2010 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legallly, if the driver in the second accident was at fault (which it seems he may be, from running a stop sign) and caused damage to your car, you may sue him for that damage. As a practical matter, if  the damage occured to the same location(s) or part(s) as were damaged in the prior accident, it may be difficult to prove that the second accident caused damage; you will need to be able to very carefully and definitively document that new parts were put in, the repairs made, etc., so that you can prove that the damage done by second driver was new. Otherwise, he may be able to show that you are suing him to "double dip" and recover for damages for which you have already been compensated and for which he is not responsible, since the damage was pre-existing when he hit you.


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