Is there a good way to prove that damages were not pre-existing?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is there a good way to prove that damages were not pre-existing?

About five weeks ago, I was rear ended getting on the freeway. I was found
to not be at fault, but the insurance company responsible Ameriprise
claims that the damages on my car were not from the accident, but pre-
existing. The latch on the trunk of my car a 5 piece had been broken
before the accident, so I had tied it down with a strap. This made the
insurance company think that it had already been wrecked before my car
was totalled. When the car was inspected, the mechanic told me in person
that the damages were clearly recent, but the insurance company told me
the report filed some pre-existing damage which had been a stripe of
paint damaged earlier on the side of the car, rather than the trunk. How
can I prove that the damages were not pre-existing?

Asked on August 13, 2018 under Accident Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only ways to prove it are the obvious ways:
1) The testimony of people, including yourself, familiar with the car, who can testify that based on their personal knowledge, it is not pre-existing.
2) Photographs, especially date-stamped ones.
3) A report by a mechanic, etc. who examined the car and will opine that based on his experience, training, etc., the damage is recent.
If the insurer will not agree that it was not-pre-existing, your option is to sue. You sue the at-fault driver, not their insurer.

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 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.

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