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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118286
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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My son had is oil changed at Just Brakes in Arvada, CO on

Customer Question

My son had is oil changed at Just Brakes in Arvada, CO on 09/23/16. They left the oil plug out, resulting in the engine seizing on 09/25/2016. Car was towed to Mike Shaw Subaru and their estimate to fix the care was approximately 13,000.00 (yes 13 thousand). They admitted fault. Their insurance company is Federated Insurance. They offered $18,000.00 for the car, he owes $20,800 on the car and will be out his down payment of $2,000.00 plus registration etc. Federated attempted to obtain the car (illegally in my opinion) without consent from my son. They allowed him a rental of 10 days. No attorney so far will touch the case since it doesn't involve personal injury. Is there any way we can recover our out of pocket expenses. We wanted the car repaired, not totaled. They will allow us to keep the car and pay $14,000.00 but will attach a Salvage Title to the car, which makes the car worthless....still have to pay off the loan in total and insuring the car is almost impossible. The insurance representative stated that there is a statute in CO that states if the repair of the car exceeds a certain threshold of the FMV of the car, it is deemed unsafe to drive on the road. I contacted the District Attorneys office to see what our rights under the Motor Vehicle Repair Act and they referred is to the Department of Insurance. Spoke with a clerk there and they stated there is no such statute but they do have the right to "total" a vehicle. Just Brakes and Federated's stance is we owe you nothing more that the FMV of the car. I don't trust them because they have misrepresented material facts (in my opinion) in the case. Can they basically leave us out $5,000.00 out of pocket, without a vehicle, and jeopardize his ability to get to and from work?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
It is up to the insurer as to whether or not to total the vehicle. They would need to have your son agree to the deal of course and they cannot take the car without your son signing over the car to them. They are only liable to pay your son the actual book value of the car at the time of the damage, so you have to negotiate book value and if they are offering $18,000, there is a good chance you can force them up higher to the total due on the car loan, but they are not going to go for the out of pocket expenses too, which is why attorneys do not typically take these cases (there is little money in them other than the actual value of the car).
So you have to argue the value of the car with them by using book value and arguing the car was in better shape or had new work done on it before the damage, like new tires or rims or whatever, to negotiate them to at least pay off the loan amount, which is legally the most you will get from them I am sorry to say.
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