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My car met with an accident early January. The doors were slammed and the person who hit our car admitted his fault and confirmed his insurance will take care of expense. This is what happened (Timeline).

  1. Mid January: I started looking for collision companies to repair doors.
  2. Late January: I got appointment for quote
  3. Late January: I told insurance, that I need rental car as my cars doors are not getting fully locked. After lot of back and forth they gave me rental car.
  4. Collison company told me it will take 2-3 months to repair my car.
  5. Mid February: I gave my car for repair to Collision company.
  6. Early May: I got my car back & my car's battery was dead. Upon request Collison company gave me a new battery.
  7. Now we ran into another issue where my Starter of my car stopped working and I paid close to $1000 to replace the starter.

Mechanic who repaired the car told me, there is a good chance that, since the doors were not fully locked, caused the battery to drain & the weak battery caused the Starter to fail. But there is no way to conclusively prove it.

When I gave my car to collision company, it had no issues. But now I am seeing these issues. Insurance is now saying prove that the starter failed due to accident. What are my options and how can I get insurance company to pay for these repairs ?

1 Answer 1

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Is your mechanic willing to put a statement in writing saying that it is his professional opinion that accident caused the starter to fail, with an explanation of how and why? If so, that's as close to "proof" as you're going to get.

How old was the starter? Unless it was pretty new, the insurance company may pro-rate the payment even if they accept the mechanic's opinion. And if it wasn't brand new... starters do wear out over time, and if it was old enough that it could have failed at any moment then there's no good basis for arguing that this failure had any specific cause.

I presume you didn't save the failed starter for cause analysis. Even if you had, I'd bet that would cost a few hundred bucks for low odds of finding proof.

Seriously, I don't think you're likely to win this one. Not everything after an accident was caused by the accident.

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  • Thank you for quick reply. The starter was 4-5 year old. But the fact is, the starter stopped working as soon as I got car back should hold some value. I understand the odds are against me but I feel I am punished for someone else's fault.
    – OpenStack
    May 14, 2023 at 23:47
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    Correlation is not causation. It's suggestive, but it isn't proof. I doubt your mechanic would be willing to say otherwise. I honestly don't see "fault" here, just bad luck. Maybe it was someone's fault that they didn't test and replace the battery before trying to use the starter, but that isn't part of the accident.
    – keshlam
    May 15, 2023 at 6:06
  • @OpenStack you can always contact a lawyer to sue the other driver for your extra expenses - there's nothing which forces you to deal with and accept the decisions of their insurance company.
    – brhans
    May 15, 2023 at 17:09
  • You can always try to sue, whether there is any merit to the suit or not. (Until the court gets tired of frivolous lawsuits and stops listening to you, at least). That doesn't mean it's a good investment of your time and money. You still need, if not proof, a preponderance of evidence that the other party is at fault (or at least enough to convince a jury that you are owed something). Which goes back to the need to first get someone willing to put their own experience and reputation on the line and attest to what the cause was. Which may no longer be possible, if it ever was. Let it go.
    – keshlam
    May 15, 2023 at 17:39

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