Can I get restitution for being in a car accident and the other driver was charged and later convicted of a DUI ? My insurance paid for balance due on my car. But I need to be made whole and get money for another vehicle

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Can I get restitution for being in a car accident and the other driver was charged and later convicted of a DUI ? My insurance paid for balance due on my car. But I need to be made whole and get money for another vehicle

Accident was other driver fault. The other driver was put into squad
car at the scene. Both of us had insurance. My car was considered
totaled by my insurance. My insurance paid the balance left on my
car. But I am without a vehicle. The other driver was later
convicted of a DUI. Can I sue to get restitution to get money for
new car?

Asked on August 18, 2016 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can only sue for at most the then-current fair market value ("blue book") value of the car, or any portion thereof not paid by your own insurance. You can't get the value or cost of a new car, because when someone destroys your property, they are only responsible for what it was worth at the time it was destroyed. If you've already received the value of your car--even if it didn't go to you, but was paid directly for you to the lender/financer--you can't get more. Examples--say that you owed $15k still on your car. Then, if:
1) It was also worth $15k at the time and the insurer paid the $15k for you, you have received everything to which you are entilted.
2) It was worth only $12k at the time but the insurer paid off the full $15k you owed, you can't get anything more--you actually received more than you'd be entitled to in a lawsuit.
3) It was work $17k and the insurer paid $15k--you could sue for the extra $2k.
Regardless of the above, you could sue for other out-of-pocket costs you incurred, like if you had to pay for towing; or if you had to rent a car for a short period of time (generally, a few days up to around 2 weeks) because yours could not be driven (the idea is, the other side only has to pay for the time it would take the average person to be able to go out, get to a dealership, and get a new car; it doesn't matter if you personally were not able to do this, because the law deals in what happens to the average person, not your specific situation, in this regard).


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