What to do about an accident and additional damage incurred during towing?

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What to do about an accident and additional damage incurred during towing?

About 10 months ago, I was in an accident involving another driver; they were at fault. My insurance and license had both expired but the other driver was insured. Fortunately, no one was injured and initially, I was offered my a little over $9000 by the other driver’s insurer to total out my vehicle. They sent an adjuster and afterward picked up my vehicle however, presumably after learning that I lacked insurance and a license, they rescinded their offer without explanation. Yet, during the time my vehicle was in the possession of the towing company and isustained an additional estimated $2000 in additional damage. I have video of my vehicle, before and after, showing the damage plus the driver and other witnesses present noted the damage. I am attempting to collect only for the additional damage but the towing company has hired an attorney. Am I entitled to collect from the towing company and, in light of the added cost of retaining an attorney of my own and the offer of $9000 to total out my vehicle, can we take this to the higher court and collect more?

Asked on October 11, 2016 under Accident Law, Louisiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the towing company for negligence.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable towing company would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
The $9000 settlement offer is inadmissible in court because offers made during settlement negotiations are inadmissible.
If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers, you can sue the at-fault party for negligence.
You can recover your attorney's fees if you prevail in the case.  If you lose the case, you won't be able to recover your attorney's fees and the opposing party will be able to recover attorney's fees from you.
You can take the case to a higher court, but it is not possible to predict the outcome of any case or whether you will recover an additional amount in Superior Court (your state might have a different name for Superior Court).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) You are "legally entitled" to collect from the towing company if you sue them and win by proving that they caused the damage either intentionally or negligently (through unreasonable carelessness). You are not legally entitled to compensation unless and until a court says you are. To win the case, you'd have to show the towing company's fault by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it is more likely than not that they were at fault.
2) The towing company is only liable for--assuming they were at fault--the additional damage ($2,000) they did; the costs you incurre, what the other insurer offered you, etc. is irrelevant.  A person who damages your property (like a vehicle) is only liable for the damage they do.
3) If the other driver was at fault as you indicate, you could sue him or her for the cost of the damage he or she did.


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