Collecting 'damages' to a car that is junked

This friend of mine always drives around a beater for a car. He drives them into the ground, then buys another beater to kill.

He recently took a little damage in a minor fender-bender. The guy who hit him paid him for the estimated repairs. But then he never had the repairs made. He continued to drive the car until it was time to junk it and get another beater.

I mentioned that I thought it was dishonest of him to have taken money from the guy who hit him when no repairs were actually done. He argued that his vehicle was damaged. I countered that since he never had the repairs done, he really didn’t suffer any damages. He continued his routine of killing his car and getting another piece of shit car to replace it. The unfixed dent in his car had no impact on the transactions of getting rid of the old and buying the new. Seems to me he simply pocketed some money.

What do you think?

I don’t see where he did anything wrong. The guy who hit him damaged your friend’s property and had a legal obligation to pay for the damage he caused, theoretically your friend’s property was worth less than before the accident. Your friend chose to use the compensation for other purposes and continue to drive the damaged car. If he had tried to sell it before it “died” he would have (theoretically) had to take a lower price for it due to the damage. The fact that he continued to use the car until it was only worth it’s salvage value has nothing to do w/ the damage and subsequent compensation.

I agree with A. R. Cane. Just because he never fixed it doesn’t mean it wasn’t damaged in the first place. It might even have been foolish of him to fix that one dent when the rest of the car was, as you say, junk. I probably would have done the same thing.

There is no obligation to have the vehicle repaired. Even if it were an insurance company paying the damage, there is no obligation to have the damage repaired. The person that caused the damage is responsible to pay for the value of the damage done but the owner has no responsibility to to get the work done. The only exception I can think of is if the damage would make the vehicle unsafe to drive under that states law, like in some states it is illegal to drive with a cracked windshield.

I handled several claims where the person wasn’t planning on repairing the damage, so we simply advised them that if there were damage to that area of the vehicle again that we would require proof that the first damage was fixed for them to get paid again.

Another vote for ‘nothing wrong’.

A few years ago, someone hit the back bumper of my parent’s minivan, scraping it up a bit. The prescribed solution for stuff like that is always to replace the bumper, and the insurance paid out for that. The scrape wasn’t nearly as bad as the hole my Dad put in the front bumper while jockeying the van around a tight Vancouver hotel parking lot, so they got the front bumper replaced instead. Insurance company doesn’t care (as the costs were equal), repair shop doesn’t care… natural order is maintained. :slight_smile:

Until I ripped it off again when I caught it on some rebar on a parking block in Jasper, but that’s another situation…

Nothing wrong with it at all.

A $1000 claim of mine once went to the down payment for our house, rather than as a new rear door for my car. The door worked fine, but it had a large dent for many years (probably still does, unless the new owner had it repaired).