I was in a minor accident where the victims car door would not open and she was capable of driving away. now shes claiming that the car was totaled and she wants me to pay 2600.00 which is excellent condition. Can they do that? is the car automatically marked down as excellent if its supposedly totaled and if she drove away with the car how can she claim that it was totaled?
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
"Totaled" in insurance-speak doesn't refer to a beat-up, undrive-able wreck, it merely means that the cost of fixing the car (in this case, replacement of a door and perhaps more) outweighs the current fair market value of the car.
Disclaimer: This does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through this answer.
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Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Mr. Sauter is correct.
If you had active car insurance at the time of the collision, you should turn the matter over to your carrier.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
Depending on the make, model and year of the car, it could easily be totaled by an accident which causes the door not to open. That tells me that at least the door and front fender were involved in the accident. Also the fact that the car's value is $2600 is a good indication that it was an older model, and thus did not have much blue book value. If the cost to fix the vehicle is more than ~65% of the value (this is a guesstimate - the insurance companies have their own formula), they will usually total a car out.
So the answer to your question is yes, they can do that. You should immediately report this to your insurance company as a property damage claim against you. This is not necessarily "restitution" but instead damages in a negligence matter. Good luck.
The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for competent legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been formed through the within legal question and answer session.
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