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Accident with no injuries, not at fault,the other driver insurance offered total loss value that is ridiculous, what r my option

Dallas, TX |

I was offered a ridiculous amount as a total loss by this insurance company, this car is my only transportation and I maintained it because I can not afford to buy another car and I was going to keep it for years to come. I refuse to believe that as a consumer I can not get a fair treatment and settlement, I refuse to accept that this country of laws allows the insurance company to victimize me again financially by not providing me with a fair settlement to replace my car. All I am asking for since they are refusing to fix my car is enough money for me to replace my car with an equivalent equally reliable used car, that is fair, I can not replace my car with the amount they are offering me without me carrying the burden financially and that is simply not right. What should I do? Please help

Thanks to all the advise, I did ask for the evaluation report as I understand it is my right to make sure they evaluated my car properly. The total loss adjuster is refusing to provide me with that report, do they have the right to refuse to provide me with that information?

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer
Posted

I am licensed in Nevada, but this answer should apply in Texas as well.

The other driver, and his insurance company, are responsible for paying for the cost to repair your car, unless the cost to repair is greater than the value of car. The replacement cost is usually the "fair market value" of the car. Insurance companies get these values using different methods. You should get a copy of the evaluation to determine if and how it is less than the fair market value. You can look to kelly's bluebook's online at http://www.kbb.com and/or Nada Guides at http://www.nadaguides.com for valuations of your car.

If the car is a total loss you have the option of keeping the car and being paid less by the insurance company for the damages. The amount you receive is less since the you, and not the insurance company, can sell the car to salvage. If the car is drivable and/or you can make it drivable with the money they will offer, you can do the repairs yourself or keep the money. Understand that you will end up with a "salvage title" which will make the car virtually unsellable for anything other than salvage or parts.

So...check with online sources of comparable cars (those listed above, as well as ebay.com, craigslist.com, and similar sites) to see if they are in the ballpark. If they are, then there's not much you can do. If they are out of the ballpark, then you can file suit if they do not consider your additional information. It looks like the small claims limit in Texas is $10,000.00. You can go to http://www.dallascounty.org/department/jpcourts/3-1/start.html for more information on filing small claims in Dallas.

You might be able to remove custom parts, such as a stereo or rims if they won't consider them in the valuation.

Hope this helps.

/s Donald Kudler
http://www.capandkudler.com

Posted

Attorney Kudler is right on the mark.

Posted

The dilemma you pose is common with regard to property damage in the context of an auto accident. Attorney Kudler has basically laid out the general law with regard to the options available to the insurance company in terms of what they are required to offer to you. As he suggests, you might want to salvage what you can from the car. Some companies will also agree to total the car, but allow you to retain the car. This is something which you would have to negotiate. Best of luck to you.

You can learn more about me by clicking on my Avvo profile. Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.

Posted

If you are having problems with the insurance adjuster refusing to release pertinent information, you may wish to file a written complaint with your state's Insurance Commissioners Office against the carrier. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guide I have published on Avvo.com dealing with property damage issues, particularly those involving automobiles.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

Posted

Great answer by Mr. Kudler above.

Posted

I agree with the advice given by the other attorneys who have answered this question already. I would like to add that in many states/cities you can hire an independent automobile damage appraiser. Many of these appraisers have websites and can be found using the search engines. For a fairly reasonable price (usually under a few hundred dollars) you can have a report prepared which you can also use to argue your case to the adjuster, in addition to the other sources mentioned above. The appraiser can also appear as an expert witness (for a fee) if you file suit and need to prove the value of the car.

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