A car ran into our yard, AAA Auto Insurance Company won’t pay for permanent damages to my tree…?

A car ran into our front yard, the driver claimed in the police report that she fell asleep on the steering wheel (this happened at 2pm). The car was totaled and did damage to our: lawn, fences on each side, mail box, concrete planter on one side, and major damage to a brick planter containing a mature tree (30 years old), the tree was also damaged. We are told that the tree is hearty and will survive, but bark was removed by the impact of the car permanently damaging, scaring and deforming the tree. New growth on the tree will never cover this damage. No growth will ever take place over the areas where the bark was removed by the impact of the car. I hired an arborist who placed a dollar amount on the loss of value of the due to the permanent scaring and deformity of the tree. The insurance company refuses to pay any amount for the damage for loss of value for the tree, (they are willing to pay only for the cost of trimming the transition area between the remaining bark and the exposed (bear) wood. The insurance company is willing to pay for the other damages (fencing, lawn area and repair the brick planter), but NOT for loss of value of the tree. We also had to replace (not repair) the entire brick planter with my own money because the repair job would not match the existing part. Is it unreasonable for wanting money for the permanent visual damage to a mature tree located directly in front of my front door? Before I contact AAA Auto insurance company, I need to know the most effective / best way to demand a settlement amount for the permanent damage / scaring to the tree. What things can I say or write to the insurance company? What are my options before I file in small claims court? Also who do I file against in small claims court? Is it both the driver, owner of the car, and insurance company or who?

Asked By: danchevz - 7/21/2006
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
This is a perfect example of how peoples rights get trampled every day as well as people getting ripped off... the best thing that you could do is have a lawyer send the insurance company a letter on their great letter head with a few fancy names telling them the same thing that you are telling them.. The difference... More
Answered By: mallicoatdd - 7/22/2006
Additional Answers (8)
Sorry that is really sad thank goodness you didn't get the bark knocked off of your hid.
Answered By: - 7/21/2006
It sounds like you are at the point where you want to make the insurance company show some responsibility... More
Answered By: John M - 7/22/2006
OK, they are never going to pay you for loss of value to the tree without a judgement from court. You are going to have to refuse settlement, and take them to small claims court... More
Answered By: mbrcatz17 - 7/22/2006
In the answers given heretofore, I read some common misconceptions about insurance... More
Answered By: OneManWrites - 7/22/2006
This will depend on state to state regulations but the damage to the tree should also be covered under the liability portion on the other parties vehicle insurance. You seem to have gone out of your way to gain an estimate for the proper cost and treatment of the tree which will look very good in a court case. You may... More
Answered By: monkey f - 7/22/2006
Sorry about the damage to your property. To answer your questions: 1) Settlement to permanent scarring to tree: if I'm correct, the tree is not dead, but damaged. You would only be entitled to value of repair/maint or value of replacement less depreciation (if applicable) - not both. 2) If you believe you still... More
Answered By: rainee - 7/24/2006
As you probably know insurances companies are out there to earn a profit, to increase profits they will pay out the least amount they can get away with. Most likely, there is not enough to get a lawyer involved (many of them also like to take advantage of people when in need), I would suggest that you take your case... More
Answered By: mklwis - 7/25/2006
I hate to say it, but your are probably out of luck on this one. For what it will cost in time, effort and money on your part, might be best to plant some tall bushes or ivy around the tree. At least now the tree has more character and will be a good conversation starter for some time (sorry, this is kind of a "glass... More
Answered By: XUSAAAgent - 7/25/2006
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