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Flooded cars: Trouble is coming your way!

According to The Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR): “There is no recommended method or procedure to restore submerged vehicles from flooded-affected areas to pre-accident condition.”  It warns that “…hundreds of thousands of flood-damaged vehicles will inundate the nation’s used-car market, and buyers might not be told” they were flooded.

Historic hurricane floods put cars underwater

Between 500,000 and one million cars were flooded in Texas and Louisiana during Hurricane Harvey. Nineteen trillion gallons of water fell on southeast Texas and “another 5.5 trillion gallons” fell on Louisiana. Thousands of cars, especially in the Houston area with its huge number of commuters, ended up underwater. Irma flooded thousands more in Florida.

Why is water so damaging?

Consumer Reports warns buyers that water ruins electronics, lubricants and mechanical systems. While the car may seem okay at first, corrosion will be eating its way into those systems, appearing months later when the brakes fail at a crucial moment or the airbags fail to deploy.

The CBS affiliate in Dallas Fort Worth interviewed a woman who bought a car from a dealership that didn’t tell her it had been flooded.  She was lucky.  The next day, she took the car to a mechanic because the airbag light wouldn’t go off.  She said he told her “the airbags were disabled and if I got into a wreck…I’d probably be dead.” Other systems were damaged too.

How dealers can disguise flood damaged cars  

Consumer Reports says, totaled cars are usually sold “at a salvage auction to junkyards and vehicle rebuilders.”  Some scammers buy them and take them to a state with “relatively lax titling laws” where they can get a clean title without disclosing the car has been flooded.

Don’t damage your legal claims

Wayne Wright’s advice to used car buyers: Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.  The woman featured in the CBS TV story signed paperwork agreeing to buy a car with a “rebuilt salvage” title.  She didn’t know what that meant.  The dealership says, “by law” it didn’t have to make sure she understood the meaning.

Wayne Wright’s membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum shows how hard he works for clients.  Only lawyers who win multi-million-dollar cases are invited to join.  Wayne Wright is one of America’s top trial lawyers.  CNN celebrated his 2014 Litigator Award during prime time.  This prestigious honor is based solely on total monetary awards for clients.  Less than 1% of lawyers ever qualify for a Litigator Award.  Calls and evaluations are free.  Clients pay nothing unless Wayne Wright wins their case.

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