Can someone make you pay more than the damage is worth? 22 Answers as of May 07, 2013

I was driving my car and accidentally hit a van. I only caused a dent to the door. They are trying to make me pay for a whole new van. Am I legally obligated to pay more then what the damage is worth?

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David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
No. You can only be made to pay actual damages. If the cost of repair exceeds the fair market value of the van, then you would pay the fair market value of the van (ie, it is totaled), but not the price of a new van.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 5/7/2013
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
The burden is on the owner of the van to prove that the charges were reasonable, and the repairs were necessary. usually, they must bring in the repair person to testify.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/7/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Damage does not have worth. If the dent is small then the body repair bill would be proper. If the damage is larger and affects the value of the van that is another matter altogether it is not likely that a small dent would total a van unless the van was worth only $100 get a lawyer if you are being abused. Insurance companies are bad for abusing folks
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 5/3/2013
John Russo | John Russo
No, not for the damage, but obviously there is a dispute as to damage, and your allegation of just a little dent is not the way to prove the loss.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 5/3/2013
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
Under Florida law, if the cost of repairing the van meets or exceeds 80% of the fair market value of the van, they can demand the van be declared a total loss in which case you would be obligated to pay them the fair market value of the van, not the cost of a new van.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 5/3/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    No, your responsibility is the cost of repairing the damage you did, with a limit of not exceeding the fair market value of the vehicle.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Gary L. Platt, Attorney at Law | Gary Platt
    You don't say who "they" are, but if you have insurance, your insurance company will investigate and determine what damages, if any, to the van were actually caused by this accident (as opposed to some other cause, either before or after your accident). If you do NOT have insurance, you need to hire an attorney IMMEDIATELY to investigate this accident and argue that you are not responsible (if that is the case) for the damages the van's owner/driver are claiming. If the other driver is demanding damages which you do not owe, you can refuse to pay him/her, but if that is the case you will need to prepare to defend yourself in court. That will be very unwise without an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    End, Hierseman & Crain, LLC | J. Michael End
    You are only required to pay the reasonable value of the damage you caused.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 5/2/2013
    Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
    Generally no
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Lydy & Moan | C. Gary Wilson
    Only if you agree to it or a court orders it.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PLLC | Richard Johnson
    The Reasonable cost of repairs or the fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is less
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You are responsible for the cost of repair or the diminution in value.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    No. In the case of a damage to a motor vehicle, you would be obligated to pay the difference in the fair market value of the other car immediately before as compared to immediately after the accident, up to the fair market value of the car as a whole immediately after the accident. Usually, this difference is proved with repair estimates. If you are being asked to pay more, it's time to fight in court.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    You should notify your insurance company and let them handle it. But, the answer is No to your question. It sounds like a cost of repair case which is what the law allows together with other consequential damages. ie. rental while repairs are accomplished.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata
    Law Offices of Stanley S. Lopata | Stan Lopata
    No!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Lawrence Kahn Law Group, P.S.
    Lawrence Kahn Law Group, P.S. | Lawrence Kahn
    No. You are responsible for the reasonable cost of repairs.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM
    WEISSMAN LAW FIRM | I.Donald Weissman
    In California, someone responsible for property damage can be held to pay for the cost of repair of the actual cash value of the vehicle (determined at the time of the accident), whichever is less.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    In Alabama, you are only liable for the cost of repairs or the value of the vehicle, whichever is less. Turn the claim over to your insurance company. They'll handle it.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Hone Law Firm
    Hone Law Firm | John S. Hone
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    No, you are legally obligated only to pay for the damage which you caused.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/3/2013
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    You already know the answer. You are liable for the fair market value of the repair or the fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is less.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/3/2013
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