My vehicle was totaled by an uninsured driver. I didn't carry collision coverage so my insurance won't cover my damage.

Asked over 1 year ago - Rochester, NY

Am I correct in assuming that the only recourse I have is to go to small claims court? My vehicle was only worth $3900 but it was all I had.

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Mark Michael Campanella

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    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Assuming all you have suffered is property damage (i.e., no physical injuries), small claims will be the most cost efficient way to try and recover against the other driver. Even if you get a judgment, however, given the fact that the driver failed to carry any insurance, there might be a question of your ability to ultimately recover.

    If you find this answer useful, please mark it as "Helpful". Likewise, if you believe it is the most responsive,... more
  2. Neal Andrew Goldstein

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . That would be the most practical response. I don't know of any lawyer that would handle the case for you so you are left with trying to deal with it on your own. You will probably settle with the insurance company in court.

  3. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Small Claims is the way to go. Hopefully the other driver has assets to collect from. Check the Small Claims Court rules on how to prove value of the car.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
  4. Inara Khashmati

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    Answered . Yes file in small claims court for property damage

  5. Gerald David Grunsfeld

    Contributor Level 7

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    Answered . Yes, Small Claims would be the way to go. Although your own insurer is required to compensate you for serious injuries sustained as a result of negligence by an uninsured driver, unless you specifically paid for your uninsured clause to include coverage for property damage, it will only cover you for personal injuries, and then, only if they meet a statutorily definition of "serious injury". If you require any medical treatment as a result fo this accident, your insurance company's no fault policy will be required to pay for it.
    It really sucks when this happens. You may want to consider adding this coverage to your policy to protect you if this ever happens again. Good Luck.

  6. Michael Charles Conway

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . Small claims jurisdiction in town and village court in new york is limited to 3000.00. Bring your claim in any city court in your county, where the monetary jurisdictional amount is higher for small claims . Small claims courts are designed to allow you to proceed without a lawyer. The court clerk will have materials that will explain the process to you.

  7. Anthony A. Ferrante

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    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . Unfortunately yes that is the best option for you without collision coverage.

    Before going that route you should fully explore whether any insurance may be available covering either the driver of the vehicle or the owner. Often even where there is no insurance information presented at the scene of an accident coverage may still exist. The DMV may have coverage info if you have the plate number of the other vehicle. Also your insurance company can assist in finding out information regarding the other vehicle/driver.

    If you have already gone down that route and came up with nothing you will be limited to small claims. Be aware, however, that even if you win on small claims you may have a difficult time actually recovering money from this uninsured driver/owner.

    Good luck!

    The aforementioned opinion does not constitute legal advice and is for general educational purposes only. See an... more
  8. Alfred C. Laub

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    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . Speaking candidly, there is little likelihood you will recover, given the fact that the defendant was uninsured. With that said, you should speak with your own insurer to determine if your own SUM (Supplemental Uninsured Motorist) insurance affords you coverage. You could also attempt to go it alone by filing a claim with MVAIC (Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Insurance Corporation). Lastly, you should be able to get at least a minor tax benefit by including it as a casualty loss.

    Alfred Laub

    The underlying facts for each situation are unique. Any responses given are for informational purposes only and... more

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