If my new car was totaled in an accident, how do I recoup losses against the driver that hit me?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my new car was totaled in an accident, how do I recoup losses against the driver that hit me?

In particular, how do I recoup the loss of what I paid for my car vs. what my insurer gave me vs. what it costs to replace the car? I purchased a new car almost 2 years ago. I paid a down payment of $7,000 and made $4,500 in car payments on my $13,500 loan. My insurer paid off the lender ($9,000) and I gave me a check for $6,000. Can I recoup any of the loss because I’m worse off than when I originally purchased the purchased the car after paying $11,500 towards it? Also, the insurers’ assessed car value is well below the replacement cost for a similar car.

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Accident Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

All you can recover is the then-current value (e.g. the "blue book" value) of the car, because all you entitled to as compensation in the law is what the property is worth when it is destroyed--not the replacement cost, not the original cost, not what you have paid including interst, fees, etc.--just what it was actually worth when destroyed.

Therefore, the replacement cost is irrelevant. If the total of $15,000 ($9,000 plus $6,000) equals the then-current market value of your car at the time of the accident, in the law's eyes, you have been made whole.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption