If my car is destroyed in a parking garage collapse, can I sue the owner of the garage for replacement of my car?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my car is destroyed in a parking garage collapse, can I sue the owner of the garage for replacement of my car?

I am told that I must settle with my auto insurance company and am only entitled to the fair market value of the car.

Asked on December 15, 2015 under Accident Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) You are only entitled to the then-current fair market value of the car: i.e. if a car was worth $8,000 at the time, the loss you suffered was a loss of $8,000, so that's the compensation to which you are entitled. It does not matter if it would cost more to replace the car now: all you can get for the destruction of your property is what the property was worth when it was destroyed.
2) If the insurer doesn't pay you the FMV--or if they do, but you want to also recover your deductible--you could sue the garage owner IF they were at fault in some way (e.g. shoddy maintenance or repairs). They are not liable if the collapse was beyond their control (e.g. hurricane; tractor-trailer rammed into it; etc.).

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