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  1. #1
    RBC
    RBC is offline Junior Member
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    Wrecked Brand New Car - Options?

    What is the name of your state? Florida

    Greetings,

    Our 6 week old Honda Pilot was struck while parked, by a garbage truck operated by a private sanitation company providing services to the city. There seems to be around $4K-$6K in damage, some of which was to the rear suspension.

    There is simply no way this car can be restored to its factory condition, regardless of the quality of the repair. I bought a brand new car for a reason, and now I'm expected to settle for a 6 week old vehicle that's been patched back together.

    The insurance company will of course not total the car, but I believe given that the car is not even two months old, that I should receive a new replacement. The insurance company will pay a small amount for "dimished value," but nowhere near enough to cover the difference between the trade-in value, and a new Pilot.

    Can I sue the owner of the sanitation company for this difference, so I can be restored to where I was before the accident? Would small claims court be an appropriate venue?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBC View Post
    Can I sue the owner of the sanitation company for this difference, so I can be restored to where I was before the accident? Would small claims court be an appropriate venue?

    Thanks in advance!
    Nope - if you accept the insurance payment, you will be signing a document saying that you accept it as full settlement. If you want to sue the company for more than what the ins. company is offering, you will have to refuse the settlement offer and sue for the full amount you think you are due. And you'll be fighting the insurance company's lawyers

    (You really don't have a case though...)
  3. #3
    RBC
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    Ok, so if I don't accept the insurance payment, and sue the owner of the company, indirectly, I'll be suing his insurance company?
  4. #4
    Hoe1979 is offline Member
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    That is correct
  5. #5
    RBC
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    By the way, I missed your comment about not having a case....

    So it's equitable that I paid $30K for a brand new car 6 weeks ago, and due to no fault of my own, I must settle for a car that has been damaged and repaired, along with the loss of value? The insurance company is required to restore the vehicle to its prior condition, however that is impossible. Must I legally bear this burden?
  6. #6
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBC View Post
    By the way, I missed your comment about not having a case....

    So it's equitable that I paid $30K for a brand new car 6 weeks ago, and due to no fault of my own, I must settle for a car that has been damaged and repaired, along with the loss of value? The insurance company is required to restore the vehicle to its prior condition, however that is impossible. Must I legally bear this burden?
    No, which is why "diminished value" is a type of damages recoverable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  7. #7
    RBC
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    Thanks everyone......

    One final question.....If I don't settle for what the insurance company initially offers, and sue the owner of the company, will I still receive what was offered in the original settlement if the court does not allow additional damages, or do I put the original amount that was estimated at risk?
  8. #8
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoe1979 View Post
    That is correct
    No, it is NOT correct.

    You do not sue the insurance company. You sue the party that damaged you. That party's insurance company will provide their defense.
  9. #9
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBC View Post
    Thanks everyone......

    One final question.....If I don't settle for what the insurance company initially offers, and sue the owner of the company, will I still receive what was offered in the original settlement if the court does not allow additional damages, or do I put the original amount that was estimated at risk?
    It is possible you will recover less. And this may not even stay in small claims court...
  10. #10
    Hoe1979 is offline Member
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    If you refuse the original offer and sue then that offer will no longer be available and run the risk of the original amount.
  11. #11
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBC View Post
    The insurance company is required to restore the vehicle to its prior condition...
    This is not true. Just to clarify...the other party (through their insurance, in this case) is required to restore YOU to your prior condition financially.
  12. #12
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoe1979 View Post
    If you refuse the original offer and sue then that offer will no longer be available and run the risk of the original amount.
    The way you said this really doesn't make sense...
  13. #13
    RBC
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    Interesting.....In order to restore me to my prior condition financially, they would have to replace the vehicle in my opinion...

    How can they restore me financially, for issues I might have with the car in the future? These repairs will rear their ugly head in the future, whereas if the car was not hit, this would be a non-issue...

    Finally, the insurance company had a private firm estimate the claim, so if I were to sue and not recover additional damages, is it really possible that I might receive less than the original damage estimate?
  14. #14
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBC View Post
    Interesting.....In order to restore me to my prior condition financially, they would have to replace the vehicle in my opinion...
    Example:

    The vehicle is worth $X before the accident. (let's say $25,000.00)
    The bad guy does $5,000 in damage.
    They repair the vehicle's damage, but because the actual value is reduced (due to the accident), your car is now worth $22,500.00. You can expect to receive an additional $2,500 (beyond the damages).


    How can they restore me financially, for issues I might have with the car in the future? These repairs will rear their ugly head in the future, whereas if the car was not hit, this would be a non-issue...
    See above


    Finally, the insurance company had a private firm estimate the claim, so if I were to sue and not recover additional damages, is it really possible that I might receive less than the original damage estimate?
    You never know what might happen in court...
  15. #15
    RBC
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    Thanks very much for the advice and information.....

    The insurance company indicated that they use a "forumla" to determine dimished value, which bothers me....Whether the car had $3K in damage, or $30K in damage, I believe the value is equally diminished....A buyer doesn't care, and in most cases, won't know how much damage was done, so there is a psychological component here...A wrecked and repaired vehicle is a wrecked and repaired vehicle, plain and simple...

    Any advice on the best way to arrive at an accurate diminished value?

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