I fixed my car’s transmission for 4000 in February and was hit by a driver on their cell phone in March. Can I recoupe the money I spent to fix transmission if my car is totalled?

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I fixed my car’s transmission for 4000 in February and was hit by a driver on their cell phone in March. Can I recoupe the money I spent to fix transmission if my car is totalled?

I was stopped at a red light when rear-ended by another driver on their cell phone.
My car is probably totalled due to frame damage. I did the transmission work
expecting to keep the car for years. Their insuranceAutoOwner’s has accepted
liability.

Asked on May 8, 2016 under Accident Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot recoup the transmission cost. The most an at-fault driver (like the one who hit you) or his/her insurer has to pay is the then-current value of your car, given its age, make, model, features/options, and condition (so having a new or recently repaired transmission should slightly increase its value over that of a car without such). A party's or insurer's obligation to repay is based on value, not cost, including maintainence, cost. Sometimes this benefits you--as when you given a car by a family member, or got a great deal on one, and the amount of money you get is not reduced by the fact that you got it for free or a reduced price. Othertimes, it hurts you, as when you paid extra for a car or put alot into keeping it running.


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