What is my recourse if a dealership totaled my car on a drive during a repair service?

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What is my recourse if a dealership totaled my car on a drive during a repair service?

I have turned this in on my insurance and the car has since been considered a total loss (frame damage). Other than my insurer going through subrogation, do I have any rights here?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You only have a right to recover 1) the current value of your car; and 2) any direct, out of pocket costs or losses from the car being totalled (e.g. cost to rent a replacement until you buy or lease a new car). To the extent your insurer is paying these losses, you are being compensated. To any extent your insurer is not paying, you may sue the dealership, including potentially in small claims court, to recover the unpaid amounts. For example: say the value of your car (e.g. "blue book" value) was $15k and you spent $500 more renting before getting a new car. Say you have a $1,000 deductible on your collision coverage and no rental coverage. Your total loss is $15.5k; you receive $14k from your insurer; you could sue for the other $1.5k.


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