If I was in accident and the at-fault driver totaled my car, what damages amI entitled to?

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If I was in accident and the at-fault driver totaled my car, what damages amI entitled to?

Totaled car; college student who commutes. Insurer is slow to determine fault, so I did not want to rent car as I was unsure if I would get repaid. As college student, I needed car to commute over an hour to school. I have no way of getting to school now, and had to withdraw from classes, thus losing 50% of my tuition; there is also the potential of my being dismissed from school. Can I claim special damages from the insurance company for lost 50% tuition, and possibly sue if it results in a dismissal?

Asked on February 5, 2011 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not claim special damages such as the lost tuition and also any consequences of dismissal from the insurer, nor may you sue the other driver for those amounts. The causal link is too attenuated--among other things, you could have rented a car; taken mass transit; car pooled; bought a "beater" on the cheap; potentially bicycled or gotten a moped or the like; etc.--and also unforeseeable--there is no way for the at-fault driver to foresee that a consequence of a car accident is someone withdrawing from classes under these circumstances. The lack of sufficiet causal link or foreseeability precludes recovery. You could recover the cost of the car or repairs; of mass transit or rental if you took it; for any medical  costs; for towing; for any of your other property damaged in the accident--but not the costs you describe.


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