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Can I sue a company whose delivery driver hit my car?

Dallas, TX |

On Wednesday last week, a Sparkletts water truck hit my car and damaged my driver side front fender. After I found out that the process of getting the repair paid for by the comany would be lengthy, and have no guarrantee of being paid on time, I went through my own insurance company to have everything paid for. I have my car back now, but now I have a car with diminished value (because of the accident), and I will likely pay higher insurance rates in the long run. Can I sue the company for this, and also to penalize them for being negligent? The driver hit my car because he didn't want to park on the opposite side of the road where there was plenty of room. He double-parked and hit my car in the process just because he didn't want to turn the truck around.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

It sounds like you had comprehensive insurance and that you went through your own insurance carrier for your repairs. You do have the right to make a claim against Sparkletts for your deductible and you are entitled to damages for decreased value of your vehicle because of the damage, which greatly depends on the severity of damage to your vehicle. If this was a scrape or minor damage your claim for decreased value will probably be minimal. You can file the claim yourself in small claims court through a Justice of The Peace in the precinct where the collision occurred.

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Posted

Hopefully, the company will not make this a long and difficult process. I can also try and wage a PR/social media campaign against them. The damage was not huge, but knowing that any accident occurred on a car does diminish its resale/trade-in value. Your car is only worth as much as a buyer is willing to pay no matter what the "book" says. From my initial phone calls with this company, I found out that their policies compel drivers to save fuel. If the driver was unwilling to turn around to park on the opposite side of the road because of fuel concerns, that means he put fuel conservation above safety. Also, he was likely trying to make things as convenient for him as possible. He double-parked, and blocked the right side of the road while he unloaded his cargo.

Posted

As Kevin mentioned, you can file a claim in small claims court for your damages, including the repair cost and any diminished value to your vehicle (if any). Before you file in small claims court, I would suggest you contact the company and try to resolve the matter first. If their driver was negligent and you are only claiming property damage, then they will likely be willing to try to resolve the claim. If you are unsuccessful at resolving the claim with them, then I would suggest you go ahead and file in small claims court. Sparkletts does not obtain a "credit" for any money you received from your insurance, but keep in mind your insurance company likely has a subrogation interest. I would contact your insurance carrier to determine if they are trying to obtain reimbursement from the responsible party for the monies they paid for your repairs. In some instances, they may be able to recoup your deductible for you depending on the facts of the claim.

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Thanks for the input. It's likely that I will pursue the small claims court route. My insurance company has been great. They took care of everything, and they will be getting my deductible back. My desire is not to get something that I'm not entitled to, but simply paying for the damages done does not completely make up for this. If I had committed the same act of negligence, the owner of the other car has a right to penalize my bad behavior, and that is what I intend to do. I just need to quantify my damages without going overboard.

Posted

Although you have a "right" to sue them, it is unlikely to be fruitful, because the trouble and time is likely to be more than you get back. You must reimburse your insurance company for their expense and represent them in the suit, so they must be involved in whatever you do. See if you can coordinate with the subrogation expert of your company demanding that they recover these additional damages as part of their recovery process with the other company. In any event, his expertise in these matters will help you make a wise decision about how to proceed. You pay big bucks for your insurance and you should avail yourself of their expertise, as well as the benefits that they are strictly required to provide.

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I don't see why the insurance company must be involved in this at all. They're getting back what they spent for the repair, and they're getting my deductible back. All that covers is the damage. It does not cover negligence. It seems that is my responsibility to pursue if I decide to do so. Having the insurance company involved seems unnecessary.

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Posted

The company turned me down when I asked for an additional settlement. Now I just need to figure out if it's worth it to spend the money on filing fees. It's really irritating that the law allows them to get away with this. If a distracted driver texting on their phone hit my car, I would sue them into oblivion no matter how things worked out with my insurance. Businesses should not be allowed to just pay for repairs and walk away. They should pay for their negligence as well.

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