I had a truck hit me in the rear-end last night. I know he had to have been going at least 45mph when he hit me. I have neck, back and side pain. But my question is - what are my rights concerning my vehicle, because I'm fearing the insurance company might total it. I have a 1993 Supra which has a lot of updates I have done and it is an extremely sought after or desirable car. It is going to cost me around 35 to 40k to replace it, because I might have to fly to another state to get one. So what are my rights? Can I demand the insurance company to cover my replacement cost?
Essentially, insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to the Board of Directors.
Even in soft tissue injuries, those tissues stretch and scar, or cause corresponding pressure on nerves in the spinal cord, leaving behind permanent problems for some. I have had clients need surgeries years later because of a bulging disk and have their entire world collapse for what seemed inconsequential at the time. Insurance companies want you to settle as soon as possible and treat as little as possible. Attorneys matter. They change their gameplan when a lawyer is involved. It seems like your injuries are more serious.
For that reason - and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should consult lawyers who take the time like on sites like this. Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law REQUIRED knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck) far greater and more specific than you'd think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim.
Property damage negotiation in situations like yours can be tough. They don't have an obligation to exactly replace what you had but to estimate the actual cash value of it. It's often a fight for unique or custom automobiles. Attorneys can help. We handle claims like this. Research who you pick carefully.
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Good question. Assuming the other driver has insurance coverage the answer unfortunately is no. You can argue with them and present them with evidence of the value of your car, but they are more likely going offer much less. I know this doesn't help you here, but it is possible to insure your car as a classic car and that way at least you can be fully compensated by your own company. Your settlement for your 1993 Supra is a separate claim from your claim for your injuries. Although you are more concerned about your Supra, it is critical to preserve your claim for your bodily injuries that you obtain medical treatment right away. Although most people end up with the short end of the stick on their vehicle, with the help of a local personal injury attorney you can come out ahead on your bodily injury claim. You should obtain a consultation right away from a Georgia attorney. Most initial consultations are free.
Merry Fountain is licensed to practice law in Indiana. She can be contacted at 1-888-242-HURT. This is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney/client relationship. It is legal education intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. If the question does not include important timeframes and facts the answer could change. Merry Fountain strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state.
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Unless you carried special insurance as a classic car, all you will get is the book value.
But the question you ask may not be the most significant one. If you were hurt, do NOT speak to the insurer at all, get a lawyer IMMEDIATELY, and make sure you have already started medical care. The failure to do these steps can be very costly. Insurers tend to pay as little as they can, and, on average, people with lawyers get 70-80% more than unrepresented parties.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have injuries, you should contact a good Personal Injury lawyer who may be able to carve the unique property damage claim into your case.
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Those were great cars, but all youre going to get from it is the book value unless you were carrying some sort of special insurance. Visit kbb.com and see what they say its worth.
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You can demand, but in all actuality will not succeed. The insurance company will begin by valuing your car using such sources as Kelly's Blue Book, etc., and given the age of the car they just might total it (and then they will take possession of it and sell it for parts, etc.). Hopefully, you have proof of all the updates and additions you did, which could raise the value of your PD (property damage) claim. The insurance company's position will be that if you have substantially increased the value of the car by modifying it you should have taken steps to properly insure it, and honestly, that's a pretty strong position. If you are going to try and negotiate settlement on your own, start gathering as much info as possible to support your claims and lease keep the above in mind.
For your consideration, you sound like you have a good personal injury claim (and hopefully you have sought medical attention and gotten the needed treatment). Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be able to settle your claims for enough to help you replace your car. You definitely should consult with an attorney regarding your options as you will be at a distinct disadvantage negotiating on your own with the insurance company. After a consultation you will be in a better position to determine what's best for you. Main thing is you have no duty to cooperate with the other driver's insurance company and keep in mind that everything you tell them will be recorded and if possible used against you down the road. Please, contact an attorney as soon as you can whether myself or one of the others who have shown enough interest and support to respond to your initial questions. I would be happy to speak with you about your options. Good luck.
Since you sustained injuries, retain a local personal injury lawyer to resolve everything
Under Georgia law you can only recover the value of your vehicle. Any improvement you have paid for in this car (ie. new engine, painting, etc.) can add value to the vehicle. Hopefully you can recover money to make up for this in the injury portion of your case. Please do not hesitate to contact me at 404 812 4300 if you would like to discuss your injury claim. Good luck.
Personal Injury Lawyer
I advise all clients to such for their vehicle on sites like cars.com & kelly's blue to see what the going price is for your vehicle in your area. I would use the number from these sites as a bargain tool. Also, you mentioned you had a lot of upgrades. If you still have the receipts, provide them to the insurance company. The insurance company should pay for any upgrades you had if you have proof of purchase. Finally, ask for an itemized list of what they are paying for when compensating you for your vehicle. The break down allows you to see if anything was left uncounted for. You will also want to see a doctor for your injuries and consult with a local attorney. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, 404-850-7951.
The law in Georgia provides that you are entitled to the cost of the repairs, together with loss of use (generally the cost of a rental car while yours is being repaired) plus diminution in value; provided, however, that if those items total more than the "fair market value" of the car, then that is when it is deemed a "total loss" and the most you are entitled to is the "fair market value." For a "classic" car such as yours, you will have to prove to the insurance company what that "fair market value" is. You say it is going to cost 35-40k to replace. How did you determine that? Have you looked at what similar cars are bringing on the market? That will be how you prove your case. As some others have stated, you also need to take care of your injuries and make sure you preserve your right to pursue a bodily injury case against the other driver. You should consult with an experienced insurance and personal injury attorney to help you with this.
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