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I was involved in accident with a commercial dump truck in Georgia. I need advice!

Gainesville, GA |

The dump truck driver got a ticket for running a red light and my car was severly damaged. I suffered no major injuries and did not go to the emergency room. My car was less than a month old with 2k miles on the odometer. The initial estimate by the body shop (prior to a tear down) is almost $10k. The car's FMV is roughly $26-28k.

Plain and simple, I want a new vehicle. The car was mangled and the costs to repair will surely rise even higher and I don't want to drive a car that I saved up money for the down payment for 3 years. I also included over $3k in equity with my trade-in and I'm just completely devastated.

Do I have a right to demand a new car or sue the insurance company and/or dump truck company for what I want? I'm not looking for massive payouts, just to be whole again.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. If there are no injuries and no medical bills, then the only damage is property. Property claims are typically settled for the "fair market value" of the item, unless the item is unique in some way (in which case you get the replacement value of the item). Since automobiles are not considered unique, you are only likely to get fair market value. Unfortunately, the fair market value of an automobile is rarely worth you owe on it if the automobile was fully financed. This is usually where Gap insurance comes into play.

  2. That is very unlikely to happen.

    First, the truck's insurance company will offer you the fair market value of your vehicle. Generally, the insurance companies use a different set of numbers to reach the FMV of the item-and it is always lot less than the Kelly's Blue Book.

    So you will have two choices--neither of them will lead to what you want. One, you may accept the amount and go about your business. Two, you may decide to fight it and take the matter into Court. Even if you may be able to successfully argue that under the law the defendant has to make you whole and to put you back where you were before the incident, and you are awarded the full price of a new car, you will have to pay 33.33% plus the costs of experts and such to an attorney (there is no way you may ever be successful without one) which will leave you with less than what you need to get a new car.

    You are entitled to make sure that all the necessary repairs are performed, that proper and original parts are used and such. Unfortunately, there is no good answer for your situation. Insurance companies are not in business to fairly and reasonably evaluate a claim and to pay and do the right thing. They are in business to collect premiums and do whatever they can not to pay up on claims.

    I hope this helps-

    Nima Taradji

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information and for entertainment purposes and is only for issues arising under Illinois Law. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is always advisable to contact an attorney directly to find answers based on the facts unique to your case.

  3. I agree with the answers given.

    You did not say what injuries you did incur, but you may also be able to claim those.

    UNfortunately, you're not entitled to a new vehicle, just to the cost of repairs.

  4. The other counsel are exactly right--you are entitled to be put in the position you were immediately before the wreck occurred. If you are unable to achieve this on your own, an experienced automobile injury/property damamge lawyer may be able to help.

    Good Luck

  5. Understand that as part of your damages you would be entitled to the difference between what your car was worth before the wreck and after the wreck. This includes the depreciation of the car. Even after it is fully repaired (and I would agree with you the car will never be right, even after repair) the car will never be worth as much as a car that was never in a wreck, even if they are othrewise comparable. The loss in your case, if you include depreciation, may be over the magic 75% damage level at which time they will likely total your car.

    Generally injuries dont fully resolve AND can still pop up for 6 months after a wreck according to the doctors I deal with. I would make sure you don't resolve your injury case for at least 6 months.If your injuries are completely resolved at 6 months I would think you can resolve your case and won't need a lawyer. If they dont resolve, you clearly will need a lawyer. You should send a spoliation letter to the dump truck company. You can get one for free from my blog:

  6. You should retain counsel who is familiar with making a diminished value claim for your vehicle. Insurance companies often do not volunteer to pay this extra part of a property damage claim which, in your case, could be enough to warrant replacement rather than repair of your vehicle. My law firm has extensive experience with diminished value claims.

    Additionally, you should consider seeking medical attention to rule out any injuries. Dump trucks are large, heavy vehicles which impart a great deal of kinetic energy during collisions.

    I will be glad to discuss any aspect of your situation. I can be reached at 888-315-8840


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