How much can I expect to get for a newlyrepaired car that was totaled?

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How much can I expect to get for a newlyrepaired car that was totaled?

I had just had my transmission replaced, costing $1,800. The next day I took it back to the transmission place to fix a sensor they missed. While sitting in their parking lot one of their employees backed a truck into it totaling the car. The insurance adjuster says tough luck, he will not give me any money towards the transmission, just what he considers fair market value. The owner of the place says basically the same thing. Is that how it actually works or should I be able to get some renumeration for the transmission since it actually had not even been used yet?

Asked on August 8, 2011 Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, they do not have to compensate you for the cost to replace or repair the transmission. An insurer--or an at-fault driver, or the employer of an at-fault driver--only needs to pay the fair market value (often called blue book value) of the vehicle. It doesn't matter what went into making the car that value. For example, take two cars--same make, model, mileage, and condition--both worth $5,000. One of them was maintained by an owner who took it regularly in for repairs, maintenance, oil changes, etc. and spent considerable sums on that. The other owner did nothing, but just got lucky--the car remained in good shape. Both get $5,000 if their cars are totalled. Even though it seems particularly egregious in your case, given the timing, insurers and at-fault drivers do not need to compensate for maintence or repairs, whether they happened a decade ago, a year, a month, or even just one day.


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