How can I make a tow company pay for damage they caused to my car?
Question Details: After a tire blowout, the insurance company contracted a tow company that sent a tow truck. The tow driver backed into my disabled vehicle causing $2,000 in damage to my car that is only worth $1200. Why do I have to pay $800 to make my car drivable? Now I have to pay or get another car. Neither can I afford. The driver of the tiw truck could not speak English well and would not give me any of his info like name, insurance or licence. He dropped me off and took off when I called the police.
Unfortunately, all you are entitled to is the then-current fair market value of the car, given make, model, mileage, condition. If $1,200 is the FMV or blue book value for a '96 Saturn (a 21-year-old car) as it may well be, that's all you are entitled to, and you would not get any more if you sued. The law doesn't care about the low mileage or garaging, except to the extent it may increase FMV somewhat (e.g. maybe your Saturn should be worth $1,300 or $1,400); it is uses fair market value as the benchmark for compensation. If you are getting all, or even most (since suing over $100 or so is not worthwhile) of that amount, you should accept it.
The law in particular does NOT care if you can afford a new car or not: all it cares about is the value of the damaged car. And if that value is less than repair cost, the law does NOT make the other side or an insurer pay you more than the car is worth.