Can I make the other driver or his insurance companypay for the storage fee at the body shop in Los Angeles, CA where I took my car after a small car accident?

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Can I make the other driver or his insurance companypay for the storage fee at the body shop in Los Angeles, CA where I took my car after a small car accident?

I was in a small car accident about 2 weeks ago in Los Angeles, California.That car accident was totally the other driver’s fault and that guy refused to call the police because no one was injured. Next day, I took my car to the body shop suggested by the other driver. Then, my car was in the body shop for 13 days ($650, $50 a day). I paid for the $650 storage fee because I do not want to raise the storage fee anymore. Since this car accident was not my fault, can I make the other driver or his insurance company pay for the storage fee that I paid? Because this accident was not my fault for sure. I have a 1993 Honda Civic.

Asked on May 6, 2009 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer in CT, not Los Angeles, CA, but I have had to deal with car accident situations like this in the past with clients of mine.  I would call the police and make a report.  You want to have it on record.  If you took down his information you can try to get his insurance and place a claim.  However, the simplest thing to do is to sue the guy in small claims court (assuming you have his address).  If the guy is smart, he will refer this to his carrier and hopefully they will pay you the money.  If they do not pay, press the claim in court and try to get a judgment that he will be required to pay.  While you may not see this money for 6-8 months, you can avoid having to spend time on the phone and chasing people down. 

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I don't know why you would agree to pay $50 a day for storage.  That is outrageous.  I'm not sure why you were "storing" the vehicle at all.  Why, for a minor accident, would it need to be in the body shop for 13 days?  If it was damaged and the body shop was repairing it, they cannot charge storage for the time it is being repaired.  If you had to leave it beyond that time for some reason, such as you left for a vacation while it was being repaired, that would not be the responsibility of the at-fault driver.  I doubt you'll get that money back from his insurance company or him.  You can try small claims court, but I don't think this is a winner.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

$50 per day sounds very excessive. This is something you should have checked before leaving the car for 13 days. But regardless of your failure to do so, I'd call the local TV consumer hotline, the Better Business Bureau, the State Attorney General, the local consumer protection agency and anyone else who would listen to complain.

You should ask for the storage fee from his carrier, but I doubt they'd pay that much. The at fault driver, and his or her insurance company would be responsible for reasonable expenses resulting from the accident, not outrageous ones. But it does not hurt to ask.


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