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  1. #1

    Default Fair Market Value Or Actual Cost For Repairs

    I was t-boned on 2/28/2008 by an 83 year old man who decided it would be fun to do a u-turn in the middle of a 4 lane major road.

    When I scrambled to get out of the passengers door, because mine is smashed in, the man said
    "I'm so sorry I didn't see you there was ice on my windshield"
    I stood there shocked and replied
    "REALLY! There was ice on my windshield this morning too but you know what I did...I waited at home for 15 min. spraying my windows with the hose, using the defrost and scraping the ice off before I got on the road and endangered all of the other drivers. You know why I made myself 15 min. late for work... because you are not supposed to drive a car if you can't see out of it!"

    The officer arrived on scene and determined that he was at fault. The man gave the officer his license, registration and insurance but it was not until more than 24 hours later that I found out he didn't have insurance at all. They had started a policy and than once they got their cards they called and canceled it on 4/27/2007.

    This man has been driving without insurance for 10months! It is not like his policy accidentally lapsed right before the accident he knew he didn't have insurance for almost a whole year and just kept driving.

    He received tickets for the accident; Iím not sure what they were for it has not been released to public records yet. I did not get any tickets.

    I am not hurt badly just a little sore in my neck, back, shoulder and wrist. I told the officer I was hurting and I told my insurance company also but I have not had time to go to the Dr. yet.

    My car has a little over $3000 worth of damages and it will cost $1820 for the rental car while it is being repaired, extra $25 a day because I am only 22. I have lost $216, to date, worth of work since the accident so my totals exceed the $5000 max for small claims court.

    Can I sue him for the actual price to fix my car? Or do I have to only sue him for the fair market value of the Jeep? 1989 Jeep Cherokee. It would be around $1200 but I have been looking and I can not find a car in equal condition to my jeep for that price. I just put a lot of money into the jeep and there was nothing mechanically wrong with it she was a sturdy reliable car. I want to be able to fix the Jeep.

    I don't think I should have to deal with a crappy undependable car just because this man was not paying attention and driving a car in an unsafe condition without insurance.

    I know it is insurance company policy that if the damages exceed more that 80% of the value of the car that they "total" it and give you a check for the fair market value, but remember I am not dealing with an insurance company I am dealing with an uninsured idiot.

    I know you guys are going to say "...well if he didn't have insurance to begin than he probably doesn't have enough money to pay you anyways..."

    I researched him online and found that he does indeed own his home and he also owns a piece of land here in town. So there would be something to put a lien against.

    My Jeep is still driving today but the firewall is bent and the alignment is messed up from his truck hitting me hard enough to jump a curb and put me in a parking lot. And I have to crawl across to the passengerís door to get out and I can not secure my truck because the drivers window is gone.

    I spoke to them last Friday and they told me to get an estimate or find a replacement car and they would pay for it but when I found a car they wanted to make payments and I said no. Than they stopped answering their phone on Monday afternoon.

    I wrote hem a letter yesterday and I was going to send it certified mail today but I don't have the money to hire an attorney so I'm not sure if it is worded correctly. Can some one please take a look at it and tell me what I can and should do?

    I live in Escambia county Florida and that is where the accident occurred.


    Here is the letter I am going to send him:


    Date: 3/6/2008

    To: Mr. ***** Stall*****

    Re: Property Damage Repair

    Dear Mr. Stall*****:

    Auto Repair Estimate: $3,796.09
    Rental Car during Repairs: $1,820.38
    Lost Wages: $216.00
    Total amount of Payment: $5,832.47


    If full payment of the above amount or a payment negotiation or a payment arrangement is not made within 7 days of the date of this letter, a suit in claims court may be filed against you forthwith and without further notice for the amount indicated above plus any additional loss incurred. Instead of personal claims court, this matter may be referred to my attorney.

    I have been instructed to bring legal action against you if necessary, which may result in liens against your property or other assets.

    You can avoid the unnecessary inconvenience and added expenses of a lawsuit by contacting me about payment for the damages incurred from the accident on 2/28/2008 within 7 days of the date of this letter.

    You can reach me at 850-***-**** to discuss how you would like to resolve this issue.

    Sincerely,
    Abigail A******

    * indicates deleted feild for privacy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    2,652

    Default Re: Fair Market Value Or Actual Cost For Repairs

    Can I sue him for the actual price to fix my car?
    Yes, you can, but expect to be disappointed. You are only entitled to the actual cash value of your vehicle prior to the accident.

    Or do I have to only sue him for the fair market value of the Jeep?
    Right, you shouldn't expect to get more than what your vehicle was worth.

    1989 Jeep Cherokee. It would be around $1200 but I have been looking and I can not find a car in equal condition to my jeep for that price. I just put a lot of money into the jeep and there was nothing mechanically wrong with it she was a sturdy reliable car. I want to be able to fix the Jeep.
    You won't be able to collect for the repairs if they exceed the value of your vehicle. The cost to repair your vehicle are not your actual damages, the fair market value is what you would be entitled to, regardless if you are suing an insurance company or someone who was not insured.

    If you send that letter with those inflated amounts, you can expect that he most likely will ignore you, and he will wait until you sue him and let the judge determine what amount you would be entitled to.

    I'm sorry to hear about your accident though.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fair Market Value Or Actual Cost For Repairs

    You need to file your suit immediately in small claims. Get a couple of estimates as to the worth of the vehicle prior to the accident. That is all you can claim. Sell the Jeep for scrap and buy something else. You might also want to contact the officer and have him issue another ticket for no insurance.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fair Market Value Or Actual Cost For Repairs

    So even though I just dumped my entire savings into the Jeep to make sure it was good, (around $1400 in the past 2 months)

    I will only be able to get the fair market value ($1000-$2000) and scrap it for $50?

    Because some guy hit me that shouldn't even still have his license; he was found at fault for an accident back on 10/01/2007 and he didn't have insurance at that time either. Yet here he is on the road every day driving without insurance not paying attention and hitting people. Why was his license not suspended? Why are people allowed to break the law and screw up innocent peoples lives without a second thought?

    It is times like this when law abiding, tax paying, good people like me look at the system and think how do they get away with this kind of crap with little to no repercussions.

    If I took him to civil court could I not sue him and include $X,000.00 in punitive damages to make sure he doesn't do anything like this again to someone else?

    Would hiring a lawyer do anything or will it probably cost the same amount for the lawyer as the amount I would be granted?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fair Market Value Or Actual Cost For Repairs

    In some states you can get punitive damages for wilful and wanton recklessness. You will need to research the law in Florida and plead that in your complaint.

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