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Additional Damage Discovered
I bought a 2007 CRV in Feb of 07. On October 4, 07 the car was sideswiped by a Chinese food delivery man while parked in front of my house. His insurance company (Countrywide Insurance) eventually paid for the damages that their appraiser listed and the claim was paid November 6, 07.
This month, after hearing a strange noise in the rear of my vehicle anytime I drove over bumps in the road, I brought it to the dealership that I purchased it from, the same dealership I brought it to for the repairs to be done. They advised me that my rear suspension is cracked and has damage resulting from the impact of the accident nearly a year earlier. It appears that when he hit my rear left wheel, he banged it into the curb causing it to bend. When asked why this damage wasn't discovered before, they stated that it would only be found if it was specifically looked for.
Here's my question. When I received the claims check from the guy's insurance company I had to sign a release. Does this now mean that I can't re-open the claim and have them pay for the additional damage that has resulted from the original accident?
The dealership says that in some cases a 1 year time period is allowed to submit new claims. But even still, shouldn't the appraiser have found this damage? Furthermore, if the insurance company won't pony up the additional funds, should the fault then lie with the dealership in which I brought the vehicle to?
I feel I held my end of the bargain by bringing the vehicle to them so the repairs would be done right the first time. I live in New York City if that helps.
The release might bring you problems. However, most of the time (90%) releases for property damage to cars and not enforced. Your vehicle is newer and should not have this type of problems unless it was hit. Therefore, the insurance company will attack you in 2 grounds
1. The car was not fixed right, which is not their fault, you took the vehicle to this dealership, and therefore, they should fix it and
2. The damage is not related to the accident or the damage is actually because you had a second accident.
In either scenario, you are going to have to fight it. The first step is to have the dealership put on writing the fact that the damage is from the accident and it was not discovered until now. Usually, things on writing hold a lot more weight than they simply telling you this.
You are going to have to have the insurance adjuster talk directly to the dealership and see how they come down to an agreement. They usually do. If the insurance company simply wants to walk away because they have a release, tell them you will lawyer up and sue their client. Also tell them that if that is the case, you will be seeking the diminished value of your car. Read more here.
Hopefully, you do not have to go down that rout and most insurance companies will pay you if they believe it is related and you will indeed bring litigation.
Is the dealership negligent for not “picking up” the damage? Well, they might be, but again, they might not be. Is this something that other mechanics always check for? Were they supposed to specifically look at this damage? An estimate is only that, and estimate and it is not certain to account for all damages. They could be negligent, but that might be a more difficult claim to make.
Try to have them, insurance and dealership, talk to get to an agreement.
I hope this helps, Check with an attorney before you do anything
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