Car wrecked while parked...

by Leslie
(Newport News, Virginia)

My vehicle, along with 4 other vehicles, was hit while parked and unattended on Norfolk Naval Base. I was out to sea when it happened. My car was totaled out by my insurance company, but the amount wasn't enough to cover the financial burden and inconvenience of pursuing other transportation methods to get to and from work.

What avenues for compensation do I have? Is it worth seeking a civil lawsuit against the offender to compensate me for time loss and other expenses incurred due to the situation at hand? How would I pursue a case like this? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car wrecked while parked...":

Leslie (Newport News, Virginia):

While there is no doubt you were substantially inconvenienced, it will be difficult to arrive at an amount of compensation which fairly represents your inconvenience. Moreover, it will be just as difficult to convince the insurance company to reimburse you for that inconvenience.

You refer to "...time loss and other expenses incurred..." From the facts you present, you don't seem to have an issue with the insurance company and the replacement of your car. If that's the case, your remaining issues with time loss and expenses are to be negotiated with the insurance company.

In the alternative, if the amount of money the insurance company offered was not sufficient for you to purchase another car of equal or lesser value, then you have the right to pursue the driver separately in a lawsuit.

In that lawsuit you can ask for the difference in the amount offered by the insurance company, and the amount required to purchase a car of equal or lesser value. You can add an amount you believe fairly represents your time loss.

To substantiate that amount will require receipts for bus, train, or taxi fare, prorated cost of gasoline (if using another car), and verification of lost wages when you were unable to work.

You will most likely not be able to find an attorney to represent you on a contingency fee basis, although you can always try to find one who will. Instead, if you want to pursue the driver you can file a lawsuit on your own in one of Virginia's Small Claims Courts.

Virginia Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction of cases up to $5,000. So if the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less, you can choose to file your lawsuit there.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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