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Car accident- other party at fault- car totaled- how to get more money for new car payment?

Arlington, VA |

I'll try to keep this short. Me and my wife got into an automobile accident. The driver was at fault (police report and everything). I only have liability insurance on the car so my insurance company told me to directly call other persons insurance company. My car was a 2002 Honda Civic (completely paid off) and it was well maintained and I planned to keep it for quite a while longer. Due to airbags deploying/front of car completely torn off, my car is deemed totaled. I went to the ER because of injuries and I have no car so me and my wife are not able to get to work. They are offering $4000 on all this and I feel that there is no way to get a decent car nowadays for $4000. $4000 would end up just being a downpayment and we'd end up paying monthly again. How should we go about all this?

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Attorney answers 6


Unfortunately the insurer is not required to buy you a new car but only to compensate for the value of the car at the moment prior to the collision. The best strategy is to locate the NADA retail value for your car and to be certain to include special options features and conditions of your car and to negotiate.

Retain an attorney for the bodiliy injury, personal injury claim sooner rather than later and make no statements whatsoever to the other party's insurer.


Your best bet is to contact an attorney in your area to guide you. If you were injured you should obtain medical treatment and be sure to get photos of the damage to your car. The general rule on property damage is that the other party either has to reimburse you for the cost to repair your car or the cost to replace your car, which is less. Therefore, if your car is totaled, the book value of your car will prevail. Talk to a local attorney and see whether you have a case for your injuries.

I will evaluate your case for free. I can also refer you to an attorney to help you if I cannot help you. Joyce J. Sweinberg, Esquire 215-752-3732 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.


I suggest that you find an experienced local personal injury attorney. Such an attorney will, in all likelihood, get you far more for your injury than you would get on your own, and a little more for your car. Good Luck


You need to do your homework. If you recently added new tires or a new motor, or did something to the car other than regular maintenance, then they should increase your offer. Look in Friday and Saturday's Washington Post for a used car and look for the make model, and mileage of the car that was wrecked. That should give you an idea as to its value. Lastly you can go to or and get the retail value. The insurance company will have some wiggle room as to their offer, but not a heck of alot. Good luck.


What is the name of this insurance company? The insurance
companies are in business to MAKE money . . . NOT PAY out
money. Of course they will LOW-BALL the cost of your car
with a hundred reasons why the car is NOT WORTH what
you think it is, what the blue book says, or what used car
dealers say its worth. You'll have to sue the insurance
company if you think they are really off-base with their
offer. Good luck!



The unfortunate thing about your car being totaled is the insurance company only has to give you the Fair Market Value of your car. Depending on the year, make, & model, it is often not enough to buy a new car.

There are not enough fact present here to advise you in detail, but one of the techniques I use for my clients is finding a car identical to the car that is totaled in your zip code. A good tool to do this is or a similar site. Make sure to check off each item your car has/had. If the amount of a car on this site is not what the insurance company is offering tell, show them the reported price from the site. Tell them, this is what my car is going for in my zip code. Therefore, this is the fair market value.

Make sure they pay you for the tag and any upgrades you made to the car recently, i.e. new tires etc, etc. They will make likely ask you for a receipt for recent upgrades. Good luck!

André Dennis,
Trial Attorney
The Dennis Law Group, LLC