Can I sue the part at fault for an accident for the money put out for a new car?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Clifton Heights, PA

My husband was involved in a car accident where the other driver was at fault. Our car was totaled. The insurance company paid of the remaining balance due on the car. We then had to go out and put $7k out of pocket to purchase a new car. Can I sue the other driver for this $7k? Also is there a time frame in which I have to follow through on this since the accident was a year ago June.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Dale G. Larrimore

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . The Statute of Limitations for a motor vehicle accident claim is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to sue the other driver or your claim will be time barred.

    If the other driver's insurance company paid you for the property damage on the car, then you cannot sue the driver for anything more. It is the responsibility of the defendant (and his insurance carrier) to pay you for the value of the car that was totaled in this crash. They do not have to pay you more than the fair market value of the car. But if the fair market value of the car was $10,000 and you owed $3,000 on your car loan, they cannot just pay you the $3,000 -- they have to pay the fair market value.

    On the other hand, if the fair market value of the car was $3,000 and you were paid $3,000, then you have been compensated for your loss. If you decide to spend $10,000 on a replacement car, they do not have to pay for the replacement car -- just the value of the car that was destroyed.

    If your own insurance company paid for your property damage, then you can sue the other driver for the amount of your deductible.

    Dale Larrimore

  2. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I suggest that you may want to review the Legal Guide I have published on Avvo.com dealing with property damage to automobiles. I think this will answer your question.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.

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