Dealership Wrecks Customer’s Corvette, Won’t Compensate Him

Poor Mr.Williams. He brought his 2005 Corvette into San Rafael Chevrolet to have a bad antenna and a jammed trunk fixed, and instead he got a wrecked ‘vette. It seems that “Gene B.”, an employee of San Rafael Chevy, took the car of the lot (against the owner’s specific instructions) and smashed into a big box truck. The ticket issued for the accident says that Gene was driving too fast for conditions, and as if that wasn’t damning enough, Mr. Williams found a bottle of codeine/acetaminophen under the seat. Now Mr. Williams wants the dealership to replace his car or compensate him for the loss of resale value. They’ve said no.

Mr.Williams has filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Chevrolet, and now he’s taking it to the internet. We think he probably needs to hire a lawyer, but he’s reluctant to do so. In a case like this, a lawyer can be very helpful, and the cost of the lawyer can be paid by the party at fault. You’ll get a better settlement with a lawyer than without one. God knows their lawyer won’t want this to go to trial. What do you guys think? Lawyer? Or should Mr. Williams try to go it alone? Any lawyers out there want to help him?—MEGHANN MARCO

San Rafael Chevrolet wrecked my new vette and won’t replace it or pay for lost value. [Corvette Forum]

UPDATE: Guy Gets Replacement Vette
CORRECTION: Legal fees can not be recovered in California. (Thanks, bluegus32!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. acambras says:

    He should definitely get a lawyer. If he can afford a 2005 Corvette, surely he can afford the up-front cost of hiring a lawyer. And like Meghann said, he can sue the dealership for legal costs too.

    WHY is he reluctant to hire a lawyer? I’m sure the dealership has one.

  2. Falconfire says:

    definitely a lawyer. He will easily get 3-4 times more out of this in the end.

    They not only owe him a new car, but a couple thousand and the fuckup employee’s job after this, and he’s not going to get it unless he gets a lawyer in there to scare the living shit out of them.

    Until he gets a lawyer he is not even a minor threat.

  3. Hoss says:

    He says that the front end damage is $15,000. If that’s what he is looking for as settlement — he’s way under the mark. His vehicle history report will now indicate that the vet was in an accident. That cuts a big chunk out of his resale value. Consult with a reputable lawyer — the initial visit should be free and whether or not he hires the lawyer, he will gain lots of legal knowledge to use in negotiations.

  4. Charles Star says:

    This is a tough case for Mr. Williams – the damage is easily quantifiable (the value of the car) and – as far as a lawyer is concerned – pretty small potatoes for a contingency case. It could get very expensive if Mr. Williams is paying his lawyer hourly rates. Unlike the U.K., it is very, very hard to win legal fees in the U.S. even if you win the underlying case.

    That said, if you can find a decent lawyer who will take the case for a reasonable fee, get a lawyer Mr. Williams.

  5. spin_sycle says:

    This is what lawyers are for!

  6. nweaver says:

    Also, why isn’t his insurance company involved?

    Part of the whole point of comprehensive insurance (and uninsured motorist coverage too) is to have your insurance company pirahnas go after somebody else!

  7. WindowSeat says:

    Why would anyone be reluctant to hire a lawyer in a case like this? Leave disputes over $1000 to professionals. And file a criminal complaint while you’re at it, Gebe B. STOLE the car.

  8. LTS! says:

    The insurance company is not going to go for lost resale value however.

    I would lawyer up. If his case is that airtight there’s nothing to lose and the dealer will be bent over.

    This is one of those situations where it’s necessary since the dealer is not cooperating. I’m curious what GM has to say about the situation.

    He could also try the local media, they love this stuff.

  9. pantsonfire says:

    I like the criminal complaint idea. Anything you can do to drive a wedge between the asshat who crashed the car and his empoyers is a good thing.

  10. Sudonum says:

    As a Corvette owner I can sympathize. However if I read the post on Corvette Forum correctly the dealership is fixing the car. What this gentleman wants is either a new car or reimbursement for the alleged “lost value” due to having a repaired Corvette rather than an “original” one. As noted in a recent letter in Corvette Magazine (I tried to find a link to that letter on their web site but no luck), there is no lost resale value, and he would have a hard time proving that in court.

    I have had a similar experience and I will try to be brief. I lived in New Orleans and my Corvette was at the local Chevy dealership when Katrina hit. And yes it was the dealership where members of the NOPD were accused of “commandeering” cars. My car was not one of those pressed into service, however it was cosmetically damaged by individuals moving things over and around it. The dealership bent over backwards to make the car “right” and I think they did an outstanding job. They repainted the whole thing (looks better that the factory job), replaced damaged body parts rather than repair them, and even fixed a couple of pre-existing items. All on their nickel without me getting my insurance company involved.
    About a week after I got the car home I noticed something I hadn’t seen at the dealership, I called the Body Shop Manager and all he asked was that I hang onto to car for now so he could complete his backlog and then he would repair any problem I found with the car. He called me a few weeks later and said I could drop the car off anytime. Guess where I’ll be buying my next Chevy or Caddy?
    I would advise this individual to ensure that the dealership uses all new body panels (and by looking at the damage in the photo I think they’ll have to). And have the local regional Chevy rep look at the car to make sure it’s properly repaired. And maybe even get him to extend the warranty from 36k miles to 100k to ensure that the repairs are done correctly.

  11. WhatThe... says:

    Hmm… the local VW dealership took a friends car out to test alignment and such, and they recked it. They gave her a new Jetta – no lawyer involved.

    But I would say this guy should get a lawyer. A recked car, no matter how well it’s fixed, just isn’t the same as a new mint car. Who cares about financial difference, it’s the fact that he bought a new car – unwrecked – and he was an unwrecked car back. I know my husband would be emotionally devestated if this happened to his beloved ‘vette.

  12. Plaid Rabbit says:

    Check out these three concepts – Respondeat superior, Tresspass to Chattels, and Conversion .

    Now, get a lawyer. This appears to be pretty open and shut, my friend.

    I am not (yet) a lawyer, this is not legal advise, please see a licensed attorney in your area prior to any action.

  13. pantsonfire says:

    The idea that a car which has been in an accident won’t lose any resale value is absolutly laughable. This would be incredibly easy to prove in court. Simply have the jurrors ask themselves if they would pay the same amount for a car which had been wrecked, as a similar car which hadn’t. Regardless of the judges instructions most jurrors would simply apply common sense to a case like this.

  14. velocipenguin says:

    “As noted in a recent letter in Corvette Magazine (I tried to find a link to that letter on their web site but no luck), there is no lost resale value, and he would have a hard time proving that in court.”

    Bullshit. The scenario you describe involves mere cosmetic damage, which, once repaired, should not affect the resale value of the car. Crashing into a truck, on the other hand, can cause substantial damage that may not become evident until long after the accident. Most sensible buyers would refuse to pay the blue-book value for a used car if its history showed a serious accident, even if repairs had already been made.

    Regardless of whether or not lost resale value can be proved, there is obviously significant culpability here on the part of both the dealership and Gene B. The bottle of Tylenol #3 found under the seat is especially damning. Mr. Williams would be foolish not to hire a lawyer immediately.

  15. velocipenguin says:

    I just noticed that the owner of the vehicle is concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney. In a case as clear-cut as this one, requesting damages sufficient to cover a new Vette and attorneys’ fees would probably be the best course of action.

  16. Starkeshia says:

    I call bullshit on the argument that there’s no diminished value as well. This is an enthusiast car…that means lots of picky buyers who will pass up a car that has had even a HINT of paint or body work. Factories spends literally MILLIONS of dollars on tooling and processes to assemble cars just right. They have engineers that do nothing but fuss over the temperature, humidity, and technique in the paint booth for one specific model of car. How many body shops do you know of that have a paint process engineer on staff?

  17. Sudonum says:

    Ok, I’m wrong about the lost resale value, doing some more research I found this link
    It basically states that you can either get your car repaired, or you can get the lost resale value, but not both.

  18. velocipenguin says:

    The article linked to above discusses damages for simple traffic accidents. The topic at hand involves something very different – serious damage caused by someone who did not have permission to drive the vehicle on public roads and may have been under the influence of opiates. I am not a lawyer, but I do not think Mr. Williams qualifies as an “accident victim” in the traditional sense given the obviously gross negligence on the part of the dealership.

  19. Jesse in Japan says:

    Some lawyers are willing to work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if and when you win the case.

    Or, you could just have your lawyer write a letter to the dealership threatening to sue them and you might get what you want just for that. The lawyer will only charge you for an hour’s work or so.

    Or, you could just take them to small claims court (it only costs about 50 bucks to file) and try to represent yourself, but there’s no guarantee you’ll win on your own and small claims court puts a cap on how much you can win.

  20. ownersite says:

    Whether or not the car was “stolen” may be a point of contention, a he-said, she-said thing. While the vehicle’s owner may have claimed that he specifically stated that the dealership was not to drive the car, there may be an implied right that the dealership can do so to verify repairs or claims. It’s likely in the small print on the back of the work-order. If no language was added to the work-order acknowledging that it would not be driven, then he may be S.O.L. on that argument. I am no lawyer, and highly suggest he hires one, but as to whether or not it was stolen may not be valid. It may be negligence on the part of the dealership and they have opted to repair the damage, per the post someone reference from CorvetteForum.

  21. adamondi says:

    Lawyer up. Squeeze them for all they are worth. If their employee took the car off the lot, they are liable for any damages. That is why places like that have liability insurance. You should get AT LEAST a new car out of this, plus your legal fees paid by these numbnuts.

  22. Papercutninja says:

    I think “wrecked” is a little strong for what happened here.

    The Corvette owner that posted above has probably the most rational idea to the knee-jerk lawyeristic ones. Repair job, extended warranty and maybe some lost value compensation is perfectly fine. New replacement Corvette? Get the hell outta here.

  23. w0273 says:

    Get a lawyer! The dealership should be responsible for their employee’s actions.He left the vehicle there in good faith,to get it repaired not to be distroyed. I would go for the full compensation(the value of the car).I wouldn’t want the car after the collision. It will never be the same.

  24. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Dealers suck. A friend of mine took his Toyota Tundra to the dealership for regular maintenance. When he came back to pick it up, they couldn’t find his truck. Apparently, it had been stolen. The dealer wouldn’t assume responsibility. They told him to just call the cops and file a claim with his insurance company.

    I’m a little reluctant to take my car to the dealer for servicing. Too many “kids” working back there these days. All of the senior and experienced techs quit and start up their repair shops. That’s where you should be taking your cars for repair and service.

    As for the Corvette guy.. He should definintely make this into a legal matter. He took the car in to get his trunk and antenna fixed. There was absolutely no reason to take it for a test drive. And he gave specific instructions not to drive it off the lot.

    Also, I would advise anyone not to leave your car at the dealership unless absolutely necessary. The staff will use your car to grab lunch or run personal errands or just go for a joyride. I’ve actually seen this happen at a particular dealership. I think Corvette guy should’ve waited for the repairs, instead of leaving it there overnight. The trunk and antenna repair seems like a 1 – 2 hour job anyways.

  25. Hoss says:

    It appears that the reason for posting this is to inform others in similar situations on how to handle a case like this. In this guy’s case, he’s already made some mistakes (in my view). Some suggestions that come to mind –

    1) First, keep cool even if ut hurts. Firmly let the dealership is know how serious this was, and how you feel about it – e.g., ‘I’m feeling like I gave you our prized possession and in return I’m getting damaged goods even when the car is fixed properly’. This sets the stage
    2) Do not let the dealership fix anything until an agreeable settlement is reached – better yet, take possession of the damaged car. Most of us know that accident damage is almost never fixed entirely.
    3) Do not make the situation public early on – the threat of taking it public is a big gun.
    4) Consult with a reputable lawyer – why wouldn’t you?
    5) Speak with the police chief (or have the lawyer do so) – the chief will likely be helpful to your case. Did the person that did the damage have a long criminal record? Can the police amend the report to say that various drugs were found?
    6) Let the dealership sweat it out in the meantime – they know they did wrong and will be expecting bad news when it comes

    Did I miss anything?

  26. acambras says:

    AGAIN, why is the guy reluctant to hire a lawyer? Is he too cheap to pay for it?

    Whether his demands are reasonable or not, the dealership has already told him no. If he wants to get any further, he needs to escalate this thing and hire an attorney. Filing a report with the BBB isn’t going to do anything.

  27. FriarJohn says:

    I guess it’s time to revise that old joke:

    What’s the difference between a Corvette dealership and a porcupine? The pricks are on the outside.

    Hmmm, doesn’t quite translate but you get the idea.

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:


    Any lawyer would be happy to take this one. I mean, wow, how blantantly wrong could the situation get?

    Screw the $5000 lawyer fee. I think this one would go on contingent, with the lawyer taking a percentage of the settlement. And, I wouldn’t just sue for repairs to the car..I’d sue the dealership for negligence, loss of use of the vehicle, emotional suffering, and whatever else you can think of.

    I hate saying that, because everyone sues everyone for everything these days…even unbelievably stupid things…”OMG, I spilled ketchup on my shirt…I’m going to sue the restaurant, the ketchup manufacturer, the container manufacturer, the mall where I bought the Big Mac, etc. etc. But, I mean, come on…the dude at the dealership took your ‘Vette on a high-speed joyride and trashed it. This IS the time and place for a lawyer.

    Even if it had been a mechanic taking Mr. Williams’ car on a short trip to road-test it and there was an accident, the dealership’s insurance would cover that. My guess is that in this case, the dealership will get whacked or dropped by the insurance company if they file a claim (maybe they even know that Gene B. had a substance abuse issue), so they’re trying to get out of it by claiming the driver “didn’t have permission.” Whether or not he did is the dealership’s problem..but Mr. Williams deserves at the very least to have everything back the way it was before he took your car into sleazy San Rafael Cheverolet.

    Maybe the media coverage of a lawsuit will make people think twice about having their Corvette wrecked by San Rafael Cheverolet.

    Oh, did I mention that San Rafael Cheverolet wrecks customers’ Corvettes?

  29. xanax25mg says:

    I actually read all 13 pages of posts, and only until you read everything does some interesting points emerge:

    1– This car owner–he seems a little, ahem, “odd”. Now while that has no bearing on the damage he has incurred, I can get the feeling dealing with him would be frustrating at best.

    2– What he is asking for is an entirely brand new car. While I do understand resale value of a repaired car will suffer, it is unreasonable to demand a brand new car for a used car that has been damaged. The second he drove off the lot when he bought the car it was no longer “worth” a new car price.

    3— He admits on the 13th page of posting that there is no proof whom the acetamphenohin/codeine bottle belonged to. First I think it was potentially libelous to post that there was some illicit drug use when it very well could have been a bottle of aspirin bought over the counter at Target. Furthermore the poster admits he does not know who it belonged to. Whomever drove the car may not have dropped it there, it could have been a tow driver or a detailer. Hell, it could have fallen out of a walgreens shopping bag in the backseat or his wife’s purse.

    4– He is very offended that at a meeting with the dealer, the dealer shared his forum postings with the laywer and his wife. In addition he played voicemails he left at the dealer, several which he reported “i don’t even let my wife drive my car”. The poster complained that caused marital strife and the dealer had no right to play those. What?? This guy posts every detail of private meetings, private emails, corresponences he has regarding this case on the internet. How is what the dealer did any different?

  30. Hoss says:

    Papercutninja, I agree with you partially in that the damage looks more serious that it is because vettes are made of frigin plastic. But consider the economics. The dealership can give him a new car at invoice cost, fix the old one for reale at cost, and sell the like-new corvette again for a similar profit. They avoid lots of costs — it’s not like he’s asking for $70,000

  31. fantasticflyingpancakemachine says:

    I wouldn’t let the dealership touch the car until you’ve contacted a lawyer. No matter how good ‘a job the dealership does, its still won’t be as good as it was when it came in–it will also probably show up on the vehicle’s title. Add to all that that the guy disobeyed your instructions, had drugs in the car and the dealer refused to fix it. I don’t know a lawyer that wouldn’t jump on this case!! This is comparable to a hot coffee from McDonalds but on a single incident. $40k to replace the car with a new one is equivalent to a :30 spot on the Discovery Channel for Chevy. Good luck.

  32. acambras says:

    Xanax, very interesting…..

    Item 4 seems to support Item 1, certainly.

    Item 2 makes sense — why should the dealership be responsible for depreciation on a 2005 car? This is the end of 2006.

    Item 3 — Don’t you have to have a prescription for anything with codeine? Also, was the driver tested for anything by police who responded to the wreck (field sobriety, blood test, etc.)?

  33. pronell says:

    xanax – How is what the dealer did any different?

    Well, for one, the dealer took in a customer’s car, let an employee take it for a joyride, and is trying to shaft the customer in the deal rather than admit full culpability.

    His employee, his customer, his business, his fucking problem. I don’t see where he has any claim to start writing about the incident online, let alone in such a way as to violate the customer’s privacy while trying to shift the blame onto him. That’s a pretty pathetic manager.

    Finally, I’d be fairly well positive that the mechanic took the car, wrecked it, and tried to hide his drugs in case he got pulled over.

    The proper response would have been for him to call 911 immediately when he found the pill bottle, and instead now the manager is trying yet again to blame the customer. What’s the argument this time? You can’t be sure what the pills were? That they were his _wife’s_?

    What a child.

    San Rafael Cheverolet wrecks customers’ Corvettes!

  34. kcskater says:

    Hossofcourse should have been around for this guy BEFORE he posted his story. I wonder if the guy will even be able to find a lawyer now. I haven’t read all the posts, but if the dealer already knows about the bad publicity campaign and has tried to reason with the guy, it might show bad faith on the part of the owner. Maybe going public before talking to a lawyer hurt this guy more than it helped?

  35. weave says:

    If he’s shelling out almost $900 a month in car payments he may very well be over-extended and unable to float a few grand to get a lawyer up front. That’s a lot of cash, or to put it in other terms, before taxes that’s like shaving off almost $20k in annual income before taxes. That would hurt must of us.

  36. “you could just take them to small claims court (it only costs about 50 bucks to file)”

    Sheesh. Jesse in Japan comes from a way cheaper jurisdiction than I do! $236 for small claims, and rising every year.

  37. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    There is diminished value even in cases where the damage was only cosmetic. Imagine if your car were scratched all over due to being in a hurricane, and had to be completely repainted. You’ll have to explain the repaint to the next buyer of the car. If I’m buying a late-model car and it’s been completely repainted, I’m probably going to either demand a serious discount from an undamaged car (and, even then, I’d still be suspicious), or just find one that hasn’t been damaged.

    But, in most states you can’t collect diminished value against your own insurance company–however, if the repairs they pay for fail to restore your car to its pre-claim condition, they have failed to indemnify you and you can collect against them for those failures.

  38. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It might be unreasonable to ask for a new car; but once a car has been in an accident, it can retain hidden damage (IE if the frame is tweaked, it may never line up correctly or handle correctly ever again). Also, with the widespread use of CARFAX, a listed accident will no doubt scare many potential buyers away. So, even if the dealer fixes it all up and makes it pretty, I think the owner has lost something. If nothing else, he should ask/sue for the current retail value of the car.

    Remember, we’re talking ‘Vette people here..these are car collectors and car fanatics, and I think trying to sell a ‘Vette with a blemished Carfax report might be nearly impossible. Some of these people wouldn’t buy the car if it were smoked in, never mind having been crashed.

    The drug issue really shouldn’t come into play here. “Gene B.” could have had a medical condition, or he could have been on perfectly legal prescription drugs. It really doesn’t matter why or how he crashed the car, only that he did.

    As to the guy’s behavior…I’d be a little pissed off if I brought my car in to get work done and somebody at the Volvo dealership wrapped my wagon around a box truck and then refused to pay. Even if Mr. Williams is acting like a dick, that shouldn’t affect whether or not he’s compensated for his loss.

    Granted, if it’s an out of court settlement and Mr. Williams is negotiating with the dealer, than he should behave in a gentlemanly and courteous manner. Given the circumstance, probably a very difficult thing to do.

    So where is Mr. Williams’ insurance company on all of this? Where’s the dealer’s insurance company? Most importantly, where’s Mr. Williams’ finance company? He’s still making payments, so I would think the people that own the majority of the car (IE the bank) would be have more of a stake in this than Mr. Williams.

  39. The problem with insurance companies are exaclty the fact that they won’t do what nweaver mentioned. They should, but they won’t. At best, you’ll get repairs less deductable.

    However, as someone who works in the automotive manufacturing industry, I can tell you 100% that the vette will never ever be the same as a new car after this. Modern cars, like the vette, have unitized bodies, and even a small accident is enough to twist and weaken welds. If it was a truck, a real truck with a frame, and the frame went undamaged, that’s another story. This car is ruined.

    The dealership owes this guy a new car, and an apology. Get a lawyer, one that is hungry for blood, and sue their pants off. Or there’s always this option.

  40. Papercutninja says:

    Hossofcourse, while your solution is simple and fair(in a sense), realistically it doesn’t work out too well. Yes, the dealership screwed up by letting their guy drive and accident up the car, but the car was a 2005 model year.

    Let’s say that he purchased the car when it was first available (model year 2005), at he end of 2004. It is now late December, i’m not sure when this all happened. Theoretically, this is a 2 year-old-car. If he wants a brand-new car, then he should trade it in for the FULL BOOK VALUE of the 2005 and purchase a new (model year) 2007, using funds from his own pocket to pay the difference. That is black-and-white fair.

    However, the dealership could’ve offered a brand-new replacement car as a good faith measure, but the customer demanding it is a little distasteful.

  41. Papa K says:

    I think this guy is trying to get more then he deserves. He’s demanding a new car because his was damaged – and like has been pointed out his car was instantly worth less (and less, and less….) when he drove it off the lot.

    If he’s reluctant to hire a lawyer, it sounds very likely there are multiple details that aren’t being shared that might sway the decision away – don’t forget ‘affording’ a corvette for some is another way of saying ‘I like to look rich, even if I’m in debt up to my eyeballs.’

    This is just fishy, and if I were him, I’d take the suggestions that he get it fixed instead of getting a new car – that’s idiotic, and borderline crazy. If you have doubts about getting a lawyer, you should apologize for blowing up like this and try to save some face and get what you can from the dealer then blow more money and look more like an ass down the road.

  42. Sudonum says:

    A ‘Vette does not have a unitized body. It has a hydroformed rail frame. Remember the damn thing is plastic. The floor is made of laminated balsa wood to save weight. And to those of you who say that a factory paint job is better than and aftermarket, go to a car show and look at the paint jobs on the custom cars, at least the ones that are done right. Ever watch American Hot Rod? And the comment I made in my first post regarding loss of resale value was wrong on the face of it, however what the Corvette Magazine letter response was referring to was the long term value of an original vs. modified Corvette. Basically there are just too many “new” Corvettes out there for these things to appreciate like their bretheren from the ’50’s, ’60’s and ’70’s. Like one poster said, I’d just go buy another one” And the “bank” in this instance, is most likely GMAC.

  43. Sudonum says:

    Oh and also, BTW, It does have a “truck frame” That same type of hydroformed frame is also in use on the Silverado/Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade/Sierra. I also believe GM is using a hydroformed frame on their smaller trucks as well.

  44. bourgeoisie says:

    There is always two sides to every story, with the truth somewhere in the middle.

    And I think this ‘customer’ is getting too much credit. If he is as pure and truthful as he seems to imply, why was it so painful for him when the dealer pulled out his own words against him?

    It’s about time people be held responsible for what they say–whether online or in person.

  45. bluegus32 says:

    I’m a California lawyer who has previously done personal injury work. The dealership is just jerking this guy around. The application of the Respondeat Superior doctrine does indeed make the dealership liable for the damages (bailment laws would also apply in this case.)

    the dealership is liable for the amount of damages to the vehicle. That means that the dealership is requried to repair the car, not replace it.

    Furthermore, this guy should immediately speak to his insurance company. I pray that he was smart enough to get comprehensive coverage on his vehicle. If he did, then his own insurance company will cover this loss and will fight with the dealership on their own time.

    Hiring a lawyer may help but this guy’s going to eat a lot of money in attorneys’ fees. May not be necessary if he has comprehensive coverage on his insurance policy. I’m happy to speak with him if he wants to contact me. No charge. Just good will.

  46. iamjames says:

    As a insurance agent I can guarantee the shop is responsible. When you drop your car off at the shop it’s the shop’s insurance that is responsible for anything that happens to the vehicle while in their care.

    This is very simple: call your insurance company. They’ll pay you, then go after the shop. NO LAWYER NEEDED!

  47. bluegus32 says:

    Oh, and for clarification, Meghann, in the article you said, “In a case like this, a lawyer can be very helpful, and the cost of the lawyer can be paid by the party at fault”

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. In California, there is no recovery for attorneys’ fees, each side must bear it’s own fees. This guy is rightfully reluctant to hire a lawyer because the money for it will come out of his pocket.

    I second my own statement and that of iamjames. The guy should call his insurance company immediately and let them handle it. That’s what comprehensive coverage is for.

    And as I said, if he just wants an attorneys’ perspective on things, I’m happy to give him guidance free of charge. No need to pay for an attorney on this one.

  48. My apologies Sudonum, I did not know that they were using frames on Corvettes.

    All things notwithstanding, were I in this gentleman’s position, I’d be demanding a new 2005 or full book value as papercutninja suggested anyway.

    Although my experience does not include hydroformed frames, every non steel frame vehicle that I’ve seen in a collision, is worse for the wear after the repairs.

  49. Hyman Decent says:

    The possibility of publicizing the story to shame the dealership reminded me of this site: That guy brought his Thuderbird to the service department at the dealership where he had leased it to fix some accident damage, and, according to him, they did a lousy job that included replacing the driver’s door with a used one instead of the new one they had said they would use. This was ten or so years ago and he’s still publicizing the matter.

  50. drewheyman says:

    am i the only one who doesn’t really care if some guy who purchased a $40,000+ car but can’t afford a lawyer gets taken to the cleaners?

    the sense of entitlement the Corvette was supposed to provide kicked him in the ass when the real world came knocking. they offered to repair his car. he can take it or take it up with his lawyer.

  51. Hoss says:

    Mr Williams posted an update this evening stating that the dealer has promised a “new” replacement car comparable to his damaged car. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the replacement car was in a worse accident than his damaged car? Once you piss someone off, these things tend to happen

  52. Bokonon says:

    The dealer took care of it and is giving him a new car, as of noon on 28 December (today):

  53. latemodel says:

    Everyone paying for comprehensive insurance is paying premium for diminution of value. Insurance companies will not offer to pay it except in the states that now require them to, so the policy holder or claimant has to DEMAND that they pay. I have got paid twice for such damages. Once was easy and the other required me to get a third party appraisal. The insurance company also can not make you accept aftermarket or used parts to repair your car UNLESS it is your own company paying for the damages at which point all bet are off.

  54. velocipenguin says:


    “First I think it was potentially libelous to post that there was some illicit drug use when it very well could have been a bottle of aspirin bought over the counter at Target.”

    If your local Target sells Schedule III drugs over the counter, the pharmacy staff should be expecting a less-than-friendly visit from the DEA. Tylenol with codeine is a prescription narcotic painkiller and should not be confused with plain old acetaminophen.


    “The drug issue really shouldn’t come into play here. “Gene B.” could have had a medical condition, or he could have been on perfectly legal prescription drugs.”

    Hiding a pill bottle beneath the seat of the car is not the behavior you’d expect from an innocent man. Furthermore, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of a controlled substance. It doesn’t matter if it’s black tar heroin or legitimately prescribed pain medication – it’s still illegal and irresponsible to use before driving.

  55. xanax25mg says:

    @ velocinpenguin— The poster initially stated it was acetamenophin OR codeine. So my argument was he was not even sure what the pills were that he was inferring were responsible for the car wreck. In addition, and you have to dig through 12 pages after his initial post, he claims he has no proof it was the repairman’s bottle of pills. My gripe is he initially got everyone lathered up that there was some coked-up mechanic (and that very well could be true) taking his car for a joyride, but he then later redacted that to a degree and states he can’t prove any of that and it could have been a “tow truck driver”.

    I’m bewildered why all of us are willing to immediately believe the initial suggestion it was a codeine-fueled renegade mechanic, when no evidence supports that. I still say it was reckless to imply that in the first place when A– he wasn’t even sure what the pills were and B– he wasn’t even sure where they came from