If we had to spend an additional $250 in repairs in order to repair damage from an accident, can we get this reimbursed?

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If we had to spend an additional $250 in repairs in order to repair damage from an accident, can we get this reimbursed?

We were in an auto accident where the other person was 100% at fault. We had to get repair work on a bumper because of the collision. The mechanic couldn’t do the repairs on the bumper unless he repaired some rust around the damaged part. It cost us $250. We would not have had to repair this if we wouldn’t have gotten hit. The insurance company is saying that because the rust was not caused by the accident, they don’t have to pay for it. The rust was not caused by the collision, but the repair was. Can we fight this?

Asked on February 1, 2011 under Accident Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can try to appeal the decision to the insurer, but legally, they have the right of it; an insurer is not responsible for previous damage and also generally is not specifically responsible for rust or other damage that is the result of slow degredation, wear and tear, etc. over time. Therefore, if they chose to pay, it'll be voluntary, such as if someone decided that the good customer relations and not spending any more time on the matter is worth the $250.

Alternately, you could potentially try to sue the other person in small claims for the $250. While again, they should not be responsible for pre-existing conditions, perhaps the person will make the calculus that it's better to pay than fight.


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