A Lamborghini collision puts focus on repair costs

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A Lamborghini collision puts focus on repair costs

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The Lamborghini damaged in the accident, compared to an undamaged one. Provided by the association

In October 2013, the driver of a 45-seat charter bus had a minor collision with the driver of a Lamborghini in Busan’s Haeundae District.

The collision occurred as the bus driver, surnamed Wang, changed lanes on a three-lane road without using his turn signal.

The bus slightly grazed the right side of the Lamborghini, damaging its right side-mirror and the bumper. No one was hurt in the accident, and Wang considered it a mere fender-bender.

However, the bill for the repairs was a different story. It would cost 82 million won ($73,873) to restore the luxury sports car. But in fact, the day Wang hit the vehicle, its value at market price amounted to 600 million won.

After the insurance policy company that the Lamborghini driver commissioned paid for the repairs, it sued the cooperative financial association for chartered buses, under which Wang was contracted.

The insurance policy company claimed that Wang’s negligence caused the accident, so the association was obligated to pay the relevant fees.

But the association said it was irrational to burden it with all the repair costs and claimed that the Lamborghini’s driver was excessively speeding, which contributed to the accident.

The result of the lawsuit, which came out on Nov. 25, however, favored the insurance policy company.

“The bus association is fully responsible for paying the entire cost of repairs,” said Judge Ahn Bok-yeol at the Seoul Central District Court.

“Although we can assume that the driver of the Lamborghini was speeding, there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship concerning the accident,” Ahn said.

Kim Min-ho, the attorney for the insurance policy company, said the first priority was to determine who was at fault.

“It is understandable that the bus driver would feel it is unfair to be charged tens of millions,” Kim said. “But when it comes to a car accident, how much the repairs cost is not the main issue.”

Kim added, however, that a policy to regulate excessively high prices for foreign automobile components was needed. The high price for parts leads repair fees to spike, causing a surge in insurance fees, which puts a financial burden on other car insurance policy holders, Kim said.

According to the Korea Insurance Development Institute, the average price for foreign car repairs amounts to 2.76 million won - which is three times pricier than for domestic cars at 940,000 won.

BY NOH JIN-HO [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]

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