If you were injured, you can retain a personal injury lawyer. If not, you only get cost of repair or fair market value, whichever is less, not the loan payoff. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to locate a top-rated Avvo attorney with a low contingency fee. Good luck.
If your insurance company paid you the Fair Market Value of your car, that is all you are entitled to receive. You are not entitled to receive the loan amount on your car or replacement value. Since you do not have gap insurance, you are out of luck.
Mr. Lassen and Mr. Briggs are both on point. If you were injured speak to a personal injury attorney to determine how to proceed with obtaining compensation. If you are only dealing with a property damage claim, since you do not have gap insurance, you can attempt to file a case in small claims court against the other driver to reimburse you for the damages.
Miguel A. Amador is licensed to practice law in Florida and the District of Columbia only. The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney
I live and work in Los Angeles and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. Your gut instinct is right that you have questions regarding your rights and your case. I've handled a good amount of accident cases and know this to be true that insurance companies give cases like yours a hard time even if the police report finds the other person at fault. You should hire an attorney now before you hurt your case (happens unfortunately very often). You should hire a lawyer to help you out with the claim because regardless of the outcome of the police report insurance companies give unrepresented people a tough time. I've handled cases and referred clients to great doctors in the Los Angeles, CA area. Specificially, I've handled cases where the client didn't have their lights on and you should NOT bear any fault!
At our firm we always refer clients to all kinds of doctors and chiropractors when our clients are injured and our clients never pay anything upfront, not even a copay. The doctors are willing to do this because an attorney is on board. 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 Los Angeles, 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.
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Which insurance is paying, your collision insurance, your underinsured/uninsured, or the other driver's liability insurer? Your own collision insurance should not make any reduction for your comparative fault, although it would depend on policy language. However, liability insurance adjusters/UIM adjusters would be motivated to find some fault on your behalf as it will tend to reduce the property damage payment that you accept.
Do you agree with the total valuation placed on your car, before reduction for comparative fault? The insurers like to survey the marketplace for similar vehicles and include cars offered for sale by private parties, rather than dealers. This tends to drive down the supposed market value of your car. If you purchased your car from a dealer, private sale offerings should be excluded and the market value will increase.
What percentage of fault did the adjuster assign to you and how much did that reduce the payment? Have you agreed to the payment and signed a release? If not, pursue the at-fault party in Small Claims Court and contest any comparative fault. You can recover up to $10,000, or the fair market value of your car, whichever is less (I am assuming that you were not injured and have no bodily injury claim). Be prepared to support your position with photographs of the scene, your car, estimate for repair, and prices of similar cars offered for sale.
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