My car fell off the lift at the repair shop. They want to settle, i’m not sure of my rights

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My car fell off the lift at the repair shop. They want to settle, i’m not sure of my rights

I took my car into the auto repair shop to have work done on it. While there it fell off of the lift and was subsequently totaled. What are my rights regarding the settlement? Am I only entitled to what my car is worth? I have the car paid off and will now have to go finance another vehicle. It is a 2010 Volkswagen Beetle in pristine condition.

Asked on May 15, 2017 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are only entitled, at most, to the then-current fair market value of the car, given make, model, mileage, condition, options, etc. When property is destroyed, the person who destroyed it pays the value of it, since that amount of money is equivalent to what was destroyed. It does not matter what getting another car will cost you, since, after all, you may not decide to replace the car at all, or if you do, might buy used or new, might lease instead, or might get a less expensive or more expensive model (or very different type of car--e.g. SUV instead of sedan, or vice versa), etc. In other words, what you do about a vehicle now is your choice and has nothing to do with the car which was destroyed.


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