How can I make a tow company pay for damage they caused to my car?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I make a tow company pay for damage they caused to my car?

After a tire blowout, the insurance company contracted a tow company that sent a tow truck. The

tow driver backed into my disabled vehicle causing $2,000 in damage to my car that is only worth $1200. Why do I have to pay 800 to make my car drivable? Now I have to pay or get another car.

Neither can I afford. The driver of the tiw truck could not speak English well and would not give me any of his info like name, insurance or licence. He dropped me off and took off when I called the police.

Asked on January 31, 2018 under Accident Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, all you are entitled to is the then-current fair market value of the car, given make, model, mileage, condition. If $1,200 is the FMV or blue book value for a '96 Saturn (a 21-year-old car) as it may well  be, that's all you are entitled to, and you would not get any more if you sued. The law doesn't care about the low mileage or garaging, except to the extent it may increase FMV somewhat (e.g. maybe your Saturn should be worth $1,300 or $1,400); it is uses fair market value as the benchmark for compensation. If you are getting all, or even most (since suing over $100 or so is not worthwhile) of that amount, you should accept it.
The law in particular does NOT care if you can afford a new car or not: all it cares about is the value of the damaged car. And if that value is less than repair cost, the law does NOT make the other side or an insurer pay you more than the car is worth.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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