Can I Sue Someone for Selling Me a Salvage Car? How to Tell if it’s Bad

Explanation of salvage cars

Salvage cars are vehicles that have been damaged to such an extent that it is economically impractical to repair, often as a result of a collision, fire, theft, or flooding. A salvage title is issued for the vehicle to indicate that it has been damaged and is not in the same condition as a non-salvage vehicle. Salvage titles can affect the value of the car and the cost of repairs, and can make it difficult to resell the car. It is important to research the history of a salvage vehicle and to be aware of any potential fraud when considering purchasing a salvaged car. Due to the nature of salvage vehicles, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with purchasing one and to be aware of the laws governing them before entering into any contract of purchase.


What is a salvage car?A salvage car is a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by an insurance company due to damage or other factors.
Can you sue someone for selling you a salvage car?It depends on the circumstances surrounding the sale. If the seller failed to disclose that the car was salvaged, or if they made misrepresentations about its condition, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
What legal claims might you have in such a lawsuit?You could potentially bring claims for fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, or violation of consumer protection laws.
What damages could you recover in a successful lawsuit?The damages you could recover will depend on the specific claims you bring and the evidence you present. You may be able to recover the cost of the car, repair costs, and other damages.
What should you do if you suspect a car is salvaged before you buy it?You should always have a vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before purchasing it. You can also check the car’s history report to see if it has a salvage title or has been in any major accidents.

Overview of the issue

The issue of whether you can sue someone if they have sold you a car with a salvage title can be a complicated one. If the buyer was aware that the car had a salvage title, then it might be difficult to take legal action against the seller. However, if the buyer was unaware of the salvage title and the seller did not disclose the status, then the buyer may have a valid case for a lawsuit. It is important to look into the condition of the car before purchasing it, and to always check the title. Furthermore, if the car has defects or problems that were not already disclosed, or if the car causes injury to the driver or other people, then the buyer may need to take legal action. In short, if you have knowingly been sold a salvage title car, then you have grounds to sue.

Is it Safe to Buy a vehicle the Salvage or Rebuilt Title?


Legal considerations


State laws regarding salvage titles

The state of New Jersey has specific laws regarding salvage titles, referred to as the New Jersey Salvage Vehicle Law or the New Jersey Salvage Title Law. Under this law, if a motor vehicle has been damaged to the point of being economically impractical to repair, a salvage certificate of title must be presented and the vehicle inspected by a specially designated official of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to verify its vehicle identification number. If the vehicle had been reported as stolen and is subsequently recovered, a report from the law enforcement agency that recovered it must be provided and the vehicle must pass an inspection at a state inspected facility. The New Jersey Salvage Title Regulations provide procedures for the issuance of salvage certificates of title and the transfer of ownership of salvage vehicles, and also state that salvage motor vehicles cannot be registered for the purpose of being driven or operated on public highways in New Jersey, except in accordance with the rules set forth in the regulations.

Consumer protection laws

What consumer protection laws are applicable to wedding ceremonies? [Expanded list]:

    1. Lemon laws, which protect consumers from fraudulent or dodgy deals, are applicable to wedding ceremonies.
    2. The buyer is responsible for checking the quality of the goods purchased, such as wedding rings and other accessories, in order to be protected against fraud and other unlawful activities.
    3. Consumers are protected from false advertising, scams, and deceptive practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
    4. The Truth in Lending Act protects consumers from hidden or unauthorized charges.
    5. The Fair Credit Billing Act ensures that consumers are not held responsible for charges they did not make.
    6. The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects consumers from inaccurate credit information.
    7. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against applicants based on race, color, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.
    8. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides warranties for goods and services purchased.
    9. The Consumer Product Safety Act protects consumers from dangerous products.
    10. The National Do Not Call Registry has rules and regulations regarding telemarketing calls.
    11. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act regulates telemarketing calls.
    12. The Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act regulates telemarketers.
    13. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from unfair debt collection practices.
    14. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act protects consumers from unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
    15. The Consumer Leasing Act regulates the leasing of consumer goods.
    16. The Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act regulates home equity loans.

Fraud and misrepresentation

When planning a trip, legal considerations for fraud and misrepresentation need to be taken into account. In New Jersey, consumer laws prohibit deceptive conduct, making it illegal for a seller to fail to disclose a material fact or to mislead a customer. This applies specifically to purchasing a damaged or salvage vehicle, where the seller must disclose any history or defect of the vehicle and provide accurate information to the purchaser. Additionally, dealers who buy from auctions must ensure that they provide complete and accurate information on the condition of the vehicle, including if it has been in an accident or if the paint has been changed.

When planning a trip, it is important to research any potential vendors and services, such as rental cars and hotels, to ensure they are reputable and have proper records and certifications. Furthermore, when booking flights and hotels, travelers should be aware of any rules and regulations and also any hidden fees or charges. Consumers should read all terms and conditions carefully, and be aware of any fine print that could lead to unexpected costs or misrepresentations.

Finally, travelers should be wary of any scams or fraud, such as fake travel deals or offers that appear too good to be true. It is important to be aware of the signs of fraud, such as requests for personal information or payments made via wire transfer, and to stay alert when dealing with companies that are unfamiliar. Taking the necessary precautions can help travelers stay safe and avoid potential fraud or misrepresentation.


Potential grounds for a lawsuit

Potential grounds for a lawsuit

Failure to disclose salvage status

The importance of disclosing a vehicle’s salvage status when filing a lawsuit cannot be overstated. Salvage title cars often have defects that are not easily visible to the buyer, but that can be serious safety hazards. These vehicles may have incurred a significant amount of damage, be missing or altered parts, or have a damaged or missing vehicle identification number or plate. Knowing this information can be the difference between the plaintiff being successful in their lawsuit or not.

In New Jersey, a certificate of ownership without a salvage designation cannot be issued to the owner of a stolen vehicle until the owner presents a salvage certificate of title and a report from a law enforcement agency that the vehicle was recovered. Additionally, the vehicle must pass an inspection at a state inspected facility to determine the accuracy of its vehicle identification number.

Without disclosing this information, the plaintiff may be unable to prove that the seller was aware that the vehicle was a salvage title, which could be an important factor in the outcome of any lawsuit. Furthermore, without knowing the salvage history of the vehicle, it can be difficult to determine if the damage sustained by the plaintiff was caused by the pre-existing defects of the vehicle, which could be a deciding factor in any legal action taken against the seller.

Therefore, it is essential to disclose the salvage status when filing a lawsuit, as this information may be crucial to the outcome of the case. With the proper documentation and disclosure of this information, the plaintiff may be able to successfully prove their case and receive just compensation for any damages incurred.

Misrepresentation of the vehicle’s condition

The grounds for a lawsuit over misrepresentation of a vehicle’s condition can include, but are not limited to:

    1. False advertising claims
    2. Misrepresentations of the vehicle’s condition
    3. Misrepresentations of the vehicle’s history
    4. Failing to disclose material facts about the vehicle
    5. Failing to perform a pre-delivery inspection
    6. Failing to use an Elcometer to measure the thickness of the paint
    7. Failing to disclose if the vehicle has been in an accident
    8. Failing to disclose if the vehicle is a rental car
    9. Failing to disclose if the vehicle has been repainted
    10. Failing to disclose if the vehicle has any other defects that may significantly reduce its value

Breach of warranty

The warranty, breach argument is a legal basis for a lawsuit when a product or service fails to meet the stated or implied warranty of quality. This can include products that are not as described, are defective, or are otherwise not suitable for their intended purpose. Consumers can claim a breach of contract if they can demonstrate that the product or service failed to meet the warranty of quality.

The argument for a warranty breach lawsuit is that the manufacturer or provider has failed to deliver on their promise, and this has caused the consumer some form of harm. This can include physical injury, financial loss, or any other type of damage that the consumer has suffered as a result of the breach.

In the case of a damaged car, the manufacturer or provider has promised to provide a car that functions properly and is safe to drive. If the car turns out to be damaged or is not as described, the manufacturer or provider has failed to deliver on their promise and is liable for any resulting harm to the consumer. In this case, the consumer may be able to sue for damages and for any costs associated with repairing or replacing the damaged car.

In the case of a salvage title car, the consumer may still be able to make a warranty breach argument if the car is not as described or suffers additional problems after being purchased. In this case, the consumer may be able to argue that the car was not as described, and the manufacturer or provider should have disclosed any defects or problems with the car. The consumer may then be able to argue that the manufacturer or provider failed to deliver on their promise and is liable for any resulting harm.


Negligence is a type of legal liability that arises when one party’s careless or reckless behavior causes another person to suffer physical harm, financial loss, or other damage. In the context of property management, negligence occurs when a property manager fails to adequately maintain and manage the property so that it is safe for tenants, visitors, or other people who come into contact with it. A lawsuit can be filed over negligent property management if there is evidence that the property manager was aware of the potential risks posed by their negligence, and failed to take steps to prevent them. Examples of negligent property management include failing to inspect buildings for safety code violations, failing to perform regular maintenance on the property, and failing to repair known safety hazards. In order to prove negligence in a property management case, the plaintiff must show that the property manager had a duty to act in a reasonable manner, failed to fulfill that duty, and caused harm or injury as a result.

Steps to take before suing

Contacting the seller

Once you have decided to file a lawsuit against a seller for selling you a salvage title car, there are a few steps you will need to take in order to contact the seller.

    1. Locate the seller’s contact information: Before you do anything else, you will need to locate the seller’s contact information. The best place to start is with the title of the vehicle. This should have the seller’s name, address, and phone number. If the title is missing or illegible, you can contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to request a copy.
    2. Prepare your documents: Now that you have located the seller’s contact information, you need to prepare any documents you may need to present the seller with. This includes the vehicle title, records of any repairs you have made to the car, a copy of your lawsuit, and any other pertinent documents. Make sure to keep a copy of all documents for your own records.
    3. Contact the seller: Once you have all your documents in order, you can contact the seller. You can do this by phone, email, or mail. Make sure to clearly explain why you are contacting them and provide any documents you may have.
    4. Present your case: Once you have made contact with the seller, you can present your case. Explain why you believe the car was sold to you with a salvage title and why you are seeking legal action. Give the seller an opportunity to respond to your accusations and provide research or evidence to support your claims.
    5. Negotiate a resolution: Once you have presented your case, you can negotiate a resolution with the seller. This might include a refund, repair costs, or compensation for any losses you may have suffered. Make sure to document any agreements you make with the seller in writing.

Seeking a resolution through mediation or arbitration

Step-by-Step Instructions for Seeking a Resolution through Mediation or Arbitration after Filing a Lawsuit:

    1. Call Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation. Make sure to discuss your case with a competent lawyer and decide on a legal strategy.
    2. Depending on the choice of the buyer, he or she usually has one of two remedies available. The individual can seek a refund and all costs associated with the buy through the dealership that sold the salvage title or the buyer can seek legal action against the dealership for the matter.
    3. If the buyer was unaware of the salvage title, he or she may have a greater chance of a lawsuit. However, if this person was aware already, legal recourse through litigation may not remain an option.
    4. Deal with the dealership and consider involving a lawyer to resolve the matter. Make sure to keep track of all costs associated with the salvage title car, as the buyer may have a valid lawsuit against the dealership.
    5. File a claim in the appropriate court. After filing the lawsuit, the parties can agree to resolve the dispute through mediation or arbitration.
    6. If the parties agree to mediation, they will select a neutral third-party mediator to facilitate the negotiations. The mediator will help both parties come to a resolution without a trial.
    7. If mediation is not successful, the parties may opt for arbitration. The arbitration process is similar to a trial, but is usually more informal, with the parties presenting their cases to an arbitrator. The arbitrator will make a binding decision, which both parties must adhere to.

Gathering evidence

Step 1: Contact a New Jersey licensed attorney to get competent legal advice.

Step 2: Gather evidence to prove the claim of emotional distress. This includes gathering all relevant documentation, such as medical records, police reports, photos of the incident, and any witness testimony.

Step 3: File the necessary paperwork with the court.

Step 4: Prepare for any hearings or court appearances.

Step 5: Establish the chain of causation between the distress and the defendant’s behavior.

Step 6: Present evidence to prove the distress. This includes presenting medical testimony, detailing the physical and psychological effects of the distress, and showing how the defendant’s behavior led to the distress.

Step 7: Present any arguments for punitive damages, if applicable.

Step 8: Ensure that all legal deadlines are met.

Step 9: Negotiate a settlement, if possible.

Step 10: Appeal the court’s ruling, if necessary.

Calculating damages

Step 1: Calculate the Loss of Value: The first step in calculating damages when suing is to determine the loss of value of the vehicle due to its defect or history. This can be done by comparing the market value of the vehicle with its history against the market value of a similar vehicle without the defect or history. The difference in value is the amount of money that the buyer has lost as a result of the misrepresentation or omission of fact.

Step 2: Calculate the Damage: Once the loss of value has been calculated, the next step is to determine the damages due to the misrepresentation or omission of fact. This can be done by taking the difference in value and multiplying it by the number of years between the date the misrepresentation was made and the date of the lawsuit.

Step 3: Calculate the Attorney’s Fees: In addition to the damages, the buyer may also be eligible to receive attorney’s fees. The amount of attorney’s fees depends on the laws of the state where the misrepresentation occurred, as well as the complexity of the case.

Step 4: Calculate Punitive Damages: Punitive damages may also be available in certain cases. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for the wrongdoing and are usually based on the severity of the misrepresentation or omission of fact.

Step 5: Calculate Court Costs: Finally, the buyer may be entitled to reimbursement of court costs. These costs can include filing fees, process server fees, and any other fees related to bringing the lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit

Hiring an attorney

It is extremely important to hire an attorney when filing a lawsuit, especially if damages are due to a salvage title. Going up against a business can be a daunting task, especially since they often hire experienced defense attorneys to defend their case, and you may not even be aware of all your rights and potential claims. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. They can also provide guidance on how to deal with insurance companies, as well as how to handle negotiations or counterclaims. Additionally, depending on the complexity of your case and your circumstances, you may be entitled to be represented on a contingent basis, meaning that the attorney won’t get paid unless your case is successful and that the lawyer gets paid from your recovery rather than requiring you to pay their attorney’s fees up front. Ultimately, having an attorney on your side can help you get the most out of your case and protect your rights.

Filing a complaint

The process for filing a complaint in a case involving a salvage title begins with seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney. The attorney will evaluate the facts, review the relevant laws and regulations, and determine the best course of action. After deciding to proceed, the attorney will then file a complaint in the appropriate court. The complaint will need to be served on the defendant. The attorney will then continue to represent the plaintiff throughout the trial process, gathering and presenting evidence, negotiating settlements, and filing motions and appeals as necessary. If a favorable outcome is achieved, the client will typically receive financial compensation.

Preparing for trial

Step 1: Seek legal advice from a New Jersey licensed attorney by calling Perlman DePetris Consumer Law for a no obligation phone consultation.

Step 2: Gather evidence and ensure that the court is aware that you did not know about the salvage title.

Step 3: Engage the attorney in the process to investigate the matter further.

Step 4: Research and understand the laws and regulations that could affect your case.

Step 5: Analyze the facts of your case and determine what type of claim you may have.

Step 6: Identify any possible defenses that the other party may have.

Step 7: Prepare written documents to present to the court, such as pleadings and motions.

Step 8: Locate and subpoena any witnesses and evidence that you need to support your case.

Step 9: Follow the court’s directions for scheduling and attending hearings.

Step 10: Negotiate a settlement with the other party, if needed.

Step 11: If a trial is necessary, prepare for it by organizing evidence and witnesses.

Step 12: Follow the court’s instructions for presenting argument and evidence at trial.

Step 13: Prepare closing arguments and wait for a verdict.

Possible outcomes of the lawsuit

Damages awarded

The amount of money that could be awarded in the lawsuit will depend on the extent of the damages and the misrepresentation of the vehicle. The consumer may be entitled to reimbursement of their purchase price and any other associated costs, such as repairs, lost value, and other economic losses. Additionally, the consumer may be entitled to punitive damages, which could be awarded to punish the seller for their unlawful conduct. The amount of money awarded in the lawsuit could range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the misrepresentation and the damages caused.

Settlement agreement

A settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between two or more parties that resolves a dispute. It is a voluntary agreement that typically involves one party agreeing to make payments or provide some other form of compensation to another party in exchange for the other party agreeing to waive their right to bring a legal claim against them. This is different from a lawsuit, which is a formal legal action brought by one party against another to resolve a dispute. In a lawsuit, the parties present their case before a court of law and the outcome is determined by the court. In a settlement agreement, the parties usually seek to resolve the dispute without having to go through the process of a trial.

Dismissal of the case

What is the outcome of a lawsuit when it is dismissed? When a lawsuit is dismissed, the plaintiff may not be able to recoup any of the expenses associated with the case, including attorney’s fees and court costs. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of the dismissal, the plaintiff may be responsible for any costs or damages the defendant incurred during the case. Depending on the legal issue, there may be other avenues of recourse available, such as seeking a refund from the dealership or entering into settlement negotiations. It is important for the plaintiff to speak with a lawyer in order to explore all options for a successful outcome.


The conclusion of this story helps you determine whether to sue someone for selling you a salvaged car by emphasizing the importance of taking the necessary precautions to verify the condition of the vehicle and title before any money changes hands. It also reminds readers that they are responsible for checking the quality of goods, and that there are laws in place to protect consumers from fraud, dodgy dealers, and terrible deals. Therefore, if a seller has not provided a title or the title lists the car as salvaged, the buyer should consider seeking legal advice from a qualified attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. If a business has breached warranties or contracts, the buyer may be entitled to recover money damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

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