Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law

Know your rights when your vehicle lost value after an accident law.

Introduction Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law Connecticut

Who wants to buy a car that has been in a wreck? I mean someone will. But no one is interested in paying full value for the car. They’ll want a discount of some sort.

So you’re in a car wreck. The shop is doing repairs. Maybe they have even given you a decent rental car. The person who hit you’s insurance company is paying for the repairs.

Should the insurance company in Connecticut have to pay for your car’s loss of value?

Vehicle Lost Value After Accident Law
Vehicle Lost Value After Accident Law

The answer is they do.

Vehicle Lost Value After An Accident Law Connecticut

Connecticut law says that when someone is at fault in an accident they have an obligation to make the person they hit whole. Not half whole. Not partially whole. But whole whole. This means they have to pay for your repairs, your rental car, your loss of income, your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and any future medical bills.

The Office of Legislative Research summarizes the difference between making a claim against the person who hit you and the claim against your own insurance (very different).

If the accident was your fault

In Connecticut, a claim under a person’s personal auto insurance policy (“first-party claim”) for diminution of value is typically not covered. The policy language specifies that the insurance covers the cost of repairing the vehicle or, if considered a total loss, the actual cash value. It does not specify payment for lost market value. The policy may even include specific language excluding coverage for diminution in value.

If the accident was the fault of someone else

Connecticut case holds that the negligent person is responsible for the diminished value of the vehicle. A person whose vehicle is damaged in an accident may submit a claim for diminution of value against the negligent driver’s auto insurance policy. The policy’s property damage liability coverage pays for this. The measure of damages recoverable is the vehicle’s reasonable market value before the accident minus its reasonable market value after the accident, plus interest from the date of loss.

What To Do

The fact that the insurance company has to pay for the loss of your car is bedrock Connecticut law (Littlejohn v. Elionsky, 130 Conn. 541, 36 A.2d 52 (1944)).Insurance companies often try and tell people the law does not cover loss of value. Or they lie through omission by telling them nothing at all. Insurance companies are not your friend.  These kinds of claims are called diminished value claims

I’m not a property damage lawyer. I don’t take any fee on property damage claims from car wrecks. I’m an injury lawyer who understands that one of the first problems my clients often face deals with getting their car fixed after a wreck. I know. I’ve been there. The last thing you want to deal with as you are trying to get better is an insurance company out to pay you as little as they possibly can. If you think they’re not going to be fair with your property value claim you can imagine how they’re going to treat your injury claim.

If you have been injured in a car wreck and would like a free consultation please contact me – Ryan McKeen at 860 471 8333 or ryan@cttrialfirm.com Take the next step. I can help you navigate this area of law.

I’ve been honored by the Connecticut Law Tribune as a Personal Injury Hall of Fame inductee. In 2015, I achieved one of the highest settlements in the State of Connecticut – 2.25 million. I have settled multiple cases for over $100,000. But none of that matters. That is about me. You can read more about me on my Avvo profile.

Loss of Consortium And Car Insurance

Can I recover for my loss of consortium claim?
Can I recover for my loss of consortium claim?

Can a spouse recover as an independent claim under an auto policy? This post discusses the relationship between loss of consortium and car insurance.

This question is a very important one. I see this issue arising more and more in my cases.  The reason has a lot to do with Connecticut’s irresponsibly low auto insurance coverage minimums which are as follows:

Here are the lowest CT Auto Insurance Policies:

1. $20,000 for injury to or death of a person,

2. $40,000 for injury to or death of more than one person in any accident, and

3. $10,000 for property damage (CGS §§ 38a-335 and 14-112(a)).

To put this in context, let me tell you a story. A woman is driving her car. She’s in her lane. Suddenly a man who is texting crosses the centerline and hits her head on. She is very injured. Has multiple fractures in her legs and face. And she requires emergency surgery.  And she spends weeks in the hospital. Then there’s home rehabilitation.

And as is far too common, the guy who chose to snapchatting his girlfriend over the safety of us all – has only a state minimum policy of 20/40. And he has no other assets to attach. No house. No money in the bank. Nothing.

As a result, her husband has to take FMLA leave to care for her. He spends countless hours taking her to doctor’s appointments and doing the household tasks she used to do.

What is Loss of Consortium?

He has a claim for loss of consortium.  Loss of consortium is a suit by a spouse for the loss of the affection, dependence and companionship that he has suffered through the loss of his spouse. Damages for loss of consortium include both past and future loss. “Consortium” includes affection, society, companionship and physical intimacies of the spousal relationship. You can read more about loss of consortium claims here.

A 20/40 policy means the insurance company is limited to only having to pay out $20,000 per person and $40,000 per wreck. For example, if there was a passenger in the woman’s car the total insurance company would have to pay out is $40,000 – $20,000 to the driver and $20,000 to the passenger

Can the husband recover even though he was not in the car but suffered a compensable loss as a direct result of the driver choosing to violate road safety rules?

Will Insurance Cover?

The answer is a very unsatisfactory “no”.

A plaintiff asserting a claim for a loss of consortium cannot-recover an independent “per person” recovery under an automobile insurance policy due. Connecticut courts hold that this is a derivative claim. If you like reading such things, the leading Connecticut case on this issue is Izzo v. Colonial Penn Ins Co., 203 Conn. 305 (1987).

Most of all, you’ll notice if you read the case is that the limits in 1983 were 20/40. In the face of massive medical inflation over the past 33 years these minimal limits remain in place. Its profits over people.

Therefore, the amount of coverage available to both the injured person and her spouse is $20,000.

Further, the insurance companies limit their liability in their auto policies. The standard clause in the policy defining the “per person” liability limit as applicable to all damages arising from that person’s bodily injuries, also precludes such recovery.

In conclusion, this is nothing more than profits over people.

Contact me if you have been injured in a car wreck and have questions about your rights. I am only licensed to in Connecticut. (860) 471-8333 or send me an email: ryan@cttrialfirm.com

Putting Yourself First

If you are injured, put yourself first.

You are driving along. You are doing the right thing. Another driver chooses not to pay attention. Suddenly your life has changed. The change can range from anything to a nuisance if you are fortunate to life altering if you are not.

I know when I was in a car wreck, the first thing I did was tell the EMTs I was fine. I didn’t need an ambulance. Hours later I was in the ER in severe pain. Pain that would last for days. car accident

We’re often asked “what do I do?”  Our answer is that you do everything you can to get better.

Many folks aren’t comfortable putting themselves first. Right now you may feel powerless. You have been wronged.  And the wheels of justice spin slowly.

The best thing you can do is take care of yourself.

Follow doctors orders. Keep your doctors appointments. Be honest with your doctors. Do the home exercises.

Rest if you need rest.

If you are in pain – tell them. If something new hurts – tell them.

Tell your treating doctors what you were like before. For example, “I never felt this before the car accident”. This will help inform your doctors as to the impact the accident has had on you.

Take care of yourself. Let others help you.

Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking back your life.

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I Was Injured In A Car Accident. Will An Attorney Take A Fee On The Property Damage Settlement?

 

Other Driver Says A Dog Caused The Car Wreck

That brown dog. The jerk.

The brown dog is all over the pages of deposition transcripts. He’s always brown. Usually about 40 pounds. His breed is unclear. He’s possibly part lab, maybe some terrier, we’re not really sure. Whatever he looks like he’s the bigfoot of the car accident defense world.

My dog - Brady.
My dog – Brady.

If a car wreck is caused by some sudden emergency, a driver may not be held accountable for causing an accident. Lawyers call this the “sudden emergency doctrine”.

In a case where a driver has a sudden heart attack while driving the doctrine makes sense. The driver had no way to control his vehicle.

But the dog. The dog is much woo.

The basic psychology is our brain is wired to protect itself. Many folks have difficulty accepting responsibility when they cause harm to others. The brain wants a way out. Any way out.

So when an insurance company interviews a client, it can plant the suggestion in his client’s mind by asking the question”did a dog jump out in front of you?”

Many times people in car accidents don’t accurately remember the accident. There’s a fog. In that fog may be a dog.

The good news is we know how to deal with that damn dog. Yes, we do.

How?

We don’t chase the dog. Not for a second. A driver has an obligation to keep his eyes on the road and vehicle under control. We focus on the conduct of the driver. We do this in deposition and if necessary at trial. By the time we’re done there’s no doubt there was no dog. None.

Don’t for a second accept the insurance company’s brown dog story. That’s something they created to protect their money.

Other car wreck posts you may like:

Injured? 3 Insurance Company Dirty Tricks

I Was Injured. Will The Insurance Company Use Private Investigators To Follow Me?

Was The Driver Who Hit Me Reckless?

Was The Driver Who Hit Me Reckless?

Was the driver who hit me reckless?

You are driving along. You are following the safety rules. Then all of the sudden your car is struck. You didn’t see it coming. The other driver was going so fast. Are you a victim of reckless driving?

Whenever we review a personal injury case, we investigate to see if a driver was operating recklessly.

What is reckless driving?

Connecticut law provides that no person shall operate any motor vehicle upon any public highway of the state recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway, the intersection of streets and the weather conditions.

How do we determine if a driver is reckless? We look for the following factors:

1.  Was the person operating a motor vehicle recklessly when that person does so knowing or having reason to know of facts that create a high degree of risk of physical harm to another and deliberately proceeds to act in conscious disregard of, or with indifference to, that risk?

2.  Was a person operating a motor vehicle recklessly when that person knows or has reason to know of facts that create a high degree of risk?

3.   Was the operation of a motor vehicle upon any public highway at such a rate of speed as to endanger the life of any person other than the operator of the motor vehicle?

 4. Did the operation of a motor vehicle upon any public highway at a rate of speed greater than eighty-five miles per hour?

If any of those 4 factors are present, the person who caused your injuries may be responsible for reckless driving.

Reckless driving may entitle you to double or treble damages. That means 2 or 3 times the amount you would have been awarded in a wreck without reckless driving?

Reckless driving needs to be specially pleaded in a complaint.

Posts you may like:

Injured? 3 Insurance Company Dirty Tricks

Do I Have A Loss Of Consortium Claim?

I Was Injured In A Car Accident. Will An Attorney Take A Fee On The Property Damage Settlement?