My car fell off the lift at the repair shop. They want to settle, i’m not sure of my rights

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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My car fell off the lift at the repair shop. They want to settle, i’m not sure of my rights

I took my car into the auto repair shop to have work done on it. While there it fell off of the lift and was subsequently totaled. What are my rights regarding the settlement? Am I only entitled to what my car is worth? I have the car paid off and will now have to go finance another vehicle. It is a 2010 Volkswagen Beetle in pristine condition.

Asked on May 15, 2017 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are only entitled, at most, to the then-current fair market value of the car, given make, model, mileage, condition, options, etc. When property is destroyed, the person who destroyed it pays the value of it, since that amount of money is equivalent to what was destroyed. It does not matter what getting another car will cost you, since, after all, you may not decide to replace the car at all, or if you do, might buy used or new, might lease instead, or might get a less expensive or more expensive model (or very different type of car--e.g. SUV instead of sedan, or vice versa), etc. In other words, what you do about a vehicle now is your choice and has nothing to do with the car which was destroyed.

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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