Auto Damages: Personal Versus Commercial

Arbitration cases are predominately filed in the Auto Forum, dealing with both personal and commercial vehicles. Personal passenger vehicles have pretty common damage items; collision repair, towing, storage, total loss evaluation, and rental are the most prevalent. Periodically, there is inclusion of car seat replacement as well, covered as that vehicle's equipment. There is not much deviation from those damage items.

Image of commercial vehiclesIn commercial lines, however, the variance between vehicles and their repair expense/total loss value is much greater. The size of vehicles in commercial lines varies from utility pickups and relatively small box trucks to larger delivery trucks and tractor-trailer units. Some may be outfitted with cherry-pickers, interior shelving, exterior storage units, or fifth wheels. Business lettering may be included or tandem rear axles known as twin screws.

To correctly support the value of the vehicle or repair, it is critical to submit evidence that proves the presence of and cost to replace these items. Without evidential proof of the presence and value of these unique items, the arbitrator has the right to omit them from the award, regardless of whether the respondent disputed them. So from a filer's or responder's perspective, be sure to include proof of the existence and value. From an arbitrator's vantage point, confirm that the evidence supports the presence and value of the unique items before entering an award that includes them.

Article published in: May 2015 E-Bulletin