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Vehicle repair shop employee got in an accident with my vehicle on a test drive and it is now totaled.

Atlanta, GA |

According to the police report, the shop driver was not at fault. The insurance company of the negligent driver offered an unfair amount for my vehicle. Additionally, the new engine has essentially no miles and I'm out the money for that. What's the best advice for getting my $$ back. The shop is assuming NO responsibility at all in the matter.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You can sue in small claims court for the difference.

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  2. Depends upon your insurance coverage and deductible. If you have collision coverage, then your insurance coverage may well pay for your damages (less your deductible) and then will pursue recovery from the negligent party and, hopefully, recover your deductible for you. If you don't have insurance that will pay the claim, then you may have to sue the person and/or his employer for negligence. The police report is not determinative of who was at fault, only what the police officer thought at the time based upon his or her investigation (which is often short due to the press of their duties). In Georgia, the police report is not currently ordinarily even admissible. Magistrate Courts in Georgia (small claims in other states) allow you to sue without an attorney but be aware that the rules of evidence will still apply. Thus, you may well want to bring a lawyer with you to court. Magistrate Court has jurisdiction up to $15,000 so it should be the appropriate venue for your case. Good luck!

  3. You cannot receive more than the current value of the car even if you lose as a result. Hopefully you have gap insurance.

    In answering questions on AVVO, the law office of Glen Ashman is not undertaking to represent you, and you should consider hiring counsel to assist you. In that answers here are based on brief and limited information there may be facts that would affect the accuracy of an answer here, so again, hiring counsel is always prudent. If you are in the area and wish to retain Mr. Ashman, you will need to call for an appointment and sign a retainer agreement.

  4. If you have collision coverage through your insurance, you can contact them to see what they will offer and compare the offer with what the other insurance company offered. You will be out your deductible, but your insurance company should make a claim for subrogation and you should ultimately get your deductible back (check with your insurance company to confirm that you will get your deductible back). You could also simply negotiate further with the insurance company regarding the value of your car. You may want to simply call an apparaiser and see if the value that the appraiser gives is similar to the offer from the insurance company. You can submit that appraisal to the insurance company to better your position in negotiations. Make sure not to sign any releases from the insurance company until you have reached an agreement as it may release your claim agianst them. If all that fails, then you can do as the others have said, which is file suit in Magistrate Court against the at fault party.

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