What Damages Are You Entitled to When Your Car or Truck is Damaged or Totaled Due to Someone Else’s Fault?

We Will Represent You Free of Charge

When you retain us to represent you in your personal injury claim, we will assist you in resolving your car or truck damages entitlement free of charge. We do this because many times, our personal injury clients are busy attending to their injuries and do not have the time to properly resolve their entitlement when their car or truck is damaged due to someone else’s fault. Also, resolving your property damage claim can be more complicated than it first appears.

Accident victims often become frustrated because the insurance company for the at-fault driver does not correctly handle their property damage claim.  In fact, many injury victims have told us that if the insurance company for the at-fault driver had properly handled their property damage claim, they would not have filed a claim for their injuries. 

Damages Are You Entitled To

Below, we’ll discuss the car or truck damages you are entitled to when your car or truck has been damaged or totaled due to the negligence or fault of another driver.

Recovering Damages For Your Totaled Vehicle

Cost of Repair Rule

If your vehicle can be repaired to its condition before the accident, your compensation is measured by the reasonable costs of the repairs necessary to restore the property to its prior condition. The measure of damages under this rule is the reasonable cost to restore the vehicle to its former condition as existed before the accident.

Loss of Value Following Repairs

If your vehicle has been repaired following an accident, it still may not have been restored to its pre-accident value. For example, a car or truck may be worth less after an accident, even if it has been repaired. This will usually require an appraisal to be done comparing the value of the vehicle before the accident to the value of the vehicle after the accident and after repairs have been made.

Under this rule, if you can establish that your vehicle has suffered a loss in value after repairs have been made, you are entitled to add the loss in value to the cost of repairs in determining your total property damage. Total damages may not exceed the pre-accident fair market value of the car.

Fair Market Value Rule

The fair market rule of damages measures the difference between the fair market value of your car or truck before the accident and its fair market value immediately after the accident.  This rule of damages is generally used when a vehicle is not, or cannot, be repaired following the accident. 

Aftermarket Costs

After purchasing a vehicle, many people have aftermarket work done on their car.  This can include such items as having the vehicle wrapped, having a ceramic coating applied to the vehicle, or having some type of paint protection applied. 

If you have had any aftermarket work done on your vehicle, and because of the damage caused to your vehicle by the at-fault driver, that aftermarket item must be reapplied or repurchased, you are entitled to recover the cost to make the aftermarket repairs.  

You should get an estimate from the dealer who initially did the aftermarket work on your vehicle. You are entitled to be compensated for the cost of the aftermarket work made necessary by the accident in addition to the cost of repairing the vehicle itself.

Rental Vehicle

If you cannot use your vehicle because of a crash caused by an at-fault driver, you may need to rent a vehicle while repairs are being made. 

As part of your compensation for your property damage, you are entitled to the reasonable cost to rent a comparable vehicle during the period of time reasonably necessary to repair your car or truck.

Compensation for Loss of Use of Your Car Even Where You Did Not Obtain a Rental Vehicle

An interesting property damage case decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is Kim v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, 176 Wis.2d 890, 501 N.W.2d 24 (1993). In this case, the plaintiff’s car was destroyed in a collision caused by the at-fault driver who was insured by American Family. The plaintiff was paid the replacement value of his car, but he also asked for damages for the loss of use of his car, although he never rented a replacement vehicle.

In this case, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the party whose vehicle was damaged was allowed to collect for loss of use of that vehicle even if that party never rented a temporary replacement vehicle. This means that a person whose automobile is damaged is entitled to the reasonable value of the loss of use even though he or she did not rent a temporary replacement vehicle.

Mingo & Yankala, S.C. Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a Milwaukee car crash due to someone else’s fault, please contact us at 414-273-7400 or use our confidential Contact Form. You will find us easy to talk to and we will let you know if you have a case.  If we accept your injury case, we will assist you in resolving your property damage claim free of charge.