If a tire store’s negligence caused me to total my car, can I sue for my insurance deductible or more?

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If a tire store’s negligence caused me to total my car, can I sue for my insurance deductible or more?

They didn’t tighten the lugnuts on 1 of my wheels and it flew off at 55 mph. They are reimbursing my rental car costs but refuse my deductible, pending their own investigation. I had locking lug nuts that require a special tool to adjust. I could have been injured and my 11 month old daughter could have been in the car. The wheel rolled away on the freeway and could have caused another accident.

Asked on March 24, 2012 under General Practice, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the tire store was negligent, or unreasonably careless--as seems may have been the case, based on what you write--then you could potentially sue to recover any out-of-pocket costs or losses (like an unreimbursed deductible). Note, however, you can only sue for actual costs or losses, not possible or hypothetical ones; that is, while it's understandable why you may be angry over the fact that you "could have been injured" or that your daughter "could have been in the car" or that the tire "could have caused another accident," there is no compensation available for "could haves".


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