Can the adjuster towed my totaled car back to me and subtract salvage value even if I haven't agreed his first settlement offer?

Asked 8 months ago - Fremont, CA

I haven't agreed on the adjuster's assessment of my totaled car's value. They said it's final. I could only accept their offer or hire my own assessor to do another evaluation. I ask them questions regarding how they came up with the number. They just said the report was done by independent assessor. They couldn't answer any of my questions. And they threatened to tow my car back to me and send me a check with the offer amount minus the salvage value of the car if I don't respond. Could they do this arbitrarily? What should I do? Thanks!

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Wendy Marie Schenk

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . Given that the insurance carrier has made an offer (minus the salvage value) it sounds to me like your car was deemed to be a "total loss." That means that the cost of repairs would exceed the value of the car. Have you done research to determine the actual cash value of your car as of the date of the accident? It seems like you would need to do that in order to negotiate with the adjuster. Otherwise, what are you basing your opinion upon that their offer is too low? Also, they will deduct salvage value if you keep the car. If you sign the car over to them, they will not deduct salvage value from the actual cash value they offered. They have the right to tow it to you because they should not have to continue to incur storage costs while you two negotiate.

    ***This response is provided solely for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

  2. Michael David Myers

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Let the carrier know the top line number is unacceptable and provide backup for your position.

    If you want to discuss please email me at mmyers@myers-company.com. I'll get back to you right away. Thanks.
  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Get a couple estimates

  4. Daniel Nelson Deasy

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . This is a tough situation. Ask a couple of car repair folks to do estimates. Then present the data to the carrier. That is your only shot here.

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship.... more
  5. C. Donald Briggs III

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . As the other answers already suggested, you should get written estimates from 2 or 3 different places that support your opinion on value. Send these estimates to the insurance company and continue to negotiate.

  6. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . I live and work in California and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is your gut instinct is right in that you are not certain about your rights. If it was in their tow yard they can tow it back to you because their might be policy limits issues and they need to mitigate thei r damages. With that being said, you are entitled to the lower of the repair cost or the value of your vehicle . You're going to need to hire a lawyer in order to get results. You are entitled to have your property damage, medical bills and future medical expenses PAID FOR BY THE OTHER PARTY'S INSURANCE. The attorney you hire will handle the claims process from start to finish.

    But you are going to need to see a specliast to even get a shot at getting future medical treatment from the Defenedant. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault so you don't want this case to become a difficult one because of lack of inattention. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.

    Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hired can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.

    With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the Fremont, CA area.

    Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for... more

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