CanI sue for the difference between what an at-fault driver’s insurance will pay and the actual cost to me of purchasing a comparable replacement vehicle?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

CanI sue for the difference between what an at-fault driver’s insurance will pay and the actual cost to me of purchasing a comparable replacement vehicle?

On 8/31/10 my car was involved in an accident. My car was legally parked on the side street. The driver of the other vehicle dropped her garage door remote, got distracted trying to pick it up, and hit my car. It was totaled and I was still financing it. Her insurance and gap coverage will cover the remainder owed on the totaled car, but I still have to get another car and I can’t find something comparable for the same amount that I owed on my car. I found one that is roughly $2000 more. Can I sue in small claims her for the difference between the final cost of my new car, and what I owed prior to the accident?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Accident Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately not. You can only recover for the value of an object, not what it would cost to replace that object given inflation, changes in models or styles, offered, etc. If  you are receiving back from the non-gap insurance an amount equal to the then-current-value of the car (when it was totalled) and furthermore, you were smart enough to have gap insurance covering the difference between that and your loan amount, that's all the compensation you are due. Neither the insurers nor the other party is responsible for the fact  that comparable cars cost more now. It's a simple fact that not all costs are recoverable; for example, if someone is a saleman or self-employed, and the time he/she spends on buying a new car takes him/her away from working, he/she can't recover the money that he/she might have been able to make in that time.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption