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Can I take someone to small claims court for the value of what my insurance company paid out to pay off my car?

Los Angeles, CA |

My car was parked in my assigned parking space. A car with a 16 year old without a drivers license hit my car along with 4 other cars. My car was was deemed a total lose. I still owed on my car. My insurance company paid off my car and I was left with not enough money to even put down on a new car. Legally, can I go after the family of the the 16 year old driver for what my insurance company paid out to pay off my car? Lost wages? Stress? I just want enough money for a down payment on another car.

Then can I appeal to them to assist me with the cost of a down payment to get another car?

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Attorney answers 3


If your insurance company paid for your property damage, then suing for that loss again would be double recovery, which isn't allowed. It's also not allowed to add stress and lost time and wages to a claim for property damage. But if you paid a deductible that your issurance didn't cover, however, you could sue in Small Calims for that amount.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Unfortunately, when your car is deemed a total loss, the insurance company is only obligated to pay you "fair market value". However, you should at least get your deductible reimbursed by your insurance company filing a "subrogation" claim against the driver and getting their money back.


Under CA law, you are entitled to revcover the cost of repair or replacement, which ever is less for your property damage. You are also entitled to recover for loss of use (or a rental car) for a reasonable period of time. Since your insurer paid the damages, they now possess the right to recoup those sums from the responsible party of their insurer.

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