Compensation for Property Damage

You are entitled to recover monetary damages for all of the property damage caused by the other party’s negligence. The measure of damages is determined by the fair market value of the property at the time and place immediately before it was damaged or destroyed. In the case of a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to receive compensation for the cost of repairing your vehicle to the condition it was in before the accident. If it will cost more to fix your car than your car is worth, you are only entitled to receive the value of your car. You are also entitled to recover monetary damages for any and all objects, clothing, equipment, etc. that was in your car or that you were wearing that was damaged or destroyed in the accident. The general measure of determining damages is what a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller for the property immediately before it was damaged or destroyed.

Occasionally what happens in an automobile accident is the cost of repairing the car is more than what the car is worth, but the car is worth less than you owe on it. Thus, if your car is worth $10,000 but it would cost $13,000 to fix it, you are only entitled to receive $10,000. This is true even if the current balance on your car loan is more than $10,000. If you owe $12,000 on the vehicle, but its fair market value is only $10,000, you are still on the hook to the finance company for the $2,000.

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