If i got into car accident and i wasnt at fault , and they want to salvage my car is there something legally i can do?

Asked 9 months ago - San Clemente, CA

so i was at ralphs shoping center on a parking aisle and as i wainting for a car to pull out of a spot when another car backed up in to mine stricking both mine and passenger door , after speaking to his insurance they estimate the damages at $2100.00 and the value of my car at $1700.00 they said they would give me $1800.00 and they keep the car or $1300.00 and i get to keep my car but i have to do this salvage thing . the same day that i took my car out of the mechanic shop for a new engine i just put in it worth $1600.00 is the same day this happened . so if you think about it thats $1600 + $1700 = $3300.00 and they only want to give me $1300.00 is there anything that can be done about that?

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Wendy Marie Schenk

    Contributor Level 16

    25

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    Answered . Give them them the documents to prove you just put a new engine into it and ask them to reconsider the value of your car.

  2. Alan Ray Barnes

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . While it is unfortunate that you cannot recover the cost of the engine you just put in, the law is clear: You are only entitled to the retail cash value of the car at the time of the accident. Perhaps you can use the fact that it had a new engine to get the insurance company to agree to a higher value. Or maybe you can negotiate a lower salvage retention (the amount they charge you to keep the car).

    As far as the salvage title goes, it is required when a car is totaled by an insurance company. But while it will reduce the resale value of your car somewhat, the effect isn't as dramatic at the lower end of the price scale. A salvage title on a two-year-old BMW is a huge red flag; on a twenty-year-old Chevy Malibu it isn't such a big deal.

  3. Eric Burton Strongin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . You are not under any obligation to accept what The at fault party's insurance company is offering you. I would try to negotiate a more favorable settlement if I was in your position. If necessary, you may want to retain an attorney to submit a demand letter on your behalf, or if necessary, file suit.

  4. Michael Raymond Daymude

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . If the car has a new or newly installed rebuilt engine, and you can prove it, you should be able to get more money for the totaled vehicle, at least the cost (minus installation) of the newer engine. It's all in negotiating the FMV and salvage value. Good luck.

    SINCE 1974. My answers are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers assume California law.... more
  5. Christopher John Gansen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . You need to try to negotiate and let them know about the engine.

  6. Thomas Edwin Martin

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . If the adjuster is low balling you and you can prove a higher value, you also have small claims court as an option.

  7. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You can certainly bird dog the adjuster until he acquiesces.

  8. C. Donald Briggs III

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You can persist with the insurance adjuster or you can take the at fault driver to Small Claims Court to try and recover $3,300. However, remember the law is that you are only entitled to recover the Fair Market Value of your car. So be prepared to prove the FMV of $3,300 if you go to Court. You should argue that the adjuster did not take the recent work on your car into consideration when arriving at the FMV.

  9. Michael Shemtoub

    Contributor Level 17

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Nothing you can do, but if you were injured you have a TON of rights. I've handled these types of cases and you have rights if you are injured. Best thing to do is hire a lawyer.

    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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