Fair Market Value vs. Unpaid Balance on Truck Note

Asked 12 months ago - Los Angeles, CA

Driver rented a U-haul-type semi truck from Renter. Driver declined insurance from Renter. Driver wrecked and totaled the truck. The rental agreement between the parties provided that if Driver declined insurance, it would be responsible for "total cost of loss or damage to vehicle." Driver's own insurance paid Renter the fair market value of the totaled truck ($50K). At the time of the accident, Renter still owed $69K on the truck's note. Can Renter recover the remaining $19K still owed on the truck from Driver? Or, was Driver's liability limited to only the fair market value of the truck - plus incidental and consequential damages?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Michael R Crosner

    Contributor Level 20

    11

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The value is the value, not what the owner paid or owes on the vehicle. Check to see if driver's insurance company obtained a full signed release for any and all property damages.

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney .... more
  2. Patrick John Phillips

    Contributor Level 17

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The "total cost of loss" is going to be the fair market value, since by definition the FMV will allow you to purchase a comparable replacement vehicle. Either way, you still owe the 19k, so that is not a "loss."

    http://www.johnphillipslaw.com

    This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not... more
  3. Albert Lee Crosner

    Contributor Level 18

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Crosner's advice to "Check to see if driver's insurance company obtained a full signed release for any and all property damages." is very good advice. If so, nothing further is owed.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . FMV

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