I was in an accident with my leased car with a driver who ran red light, can I get my down payment back as part of loss and settlement?

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I was in an accident with my leased car with a driver who ran red light, can I get my down payment back as part of loss and settlement?

What about a new down payment for new car? My car was declared a total loss. I just got car on lease 6 months ago and put $1200 down at the time. My insurance is paying off the car while going after the at fault drivers insurance company.

Asked on June 7, 2014 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you specifically bought "gap" insurance from your insurer, all you are entitled to from your insurer is the then-current value of the car; worse, that amount will go to pay off the loan or financing on the car. If you had gap insurance, that will cover any excess of the loan or financing over the then current value, but will still not put money in your pocket or make you whole for losses like the down payment.

You could sue the at-fault driver for any amounts you are out of pocket, such as any deposit or down payment which you are not paid or reimbursed by insurance. You would have to file (and win) a lawsuit to get this. For the amount you describe, it would not be worth hiring an attorney--the lawyer would charge more than you'd get. You could however sue while acting as your own attorney (pro se), possibly in small claims court.


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