While you don't "need" a lawyer, it would be best to hire one. That being said, if you are only seeking property damage and suffered no personal injuries, it may be difficult to find a lawyer to assist you because the dollars in dispute make it difficult to justify paying a lawyer for the work which would need to go into representing you adequately. If the car was totalled, you can (on your own) find out the Kelly Blue Book value of the vehcile, which will give you some indication as to whether the adjuster's offer is fair. As to whether you can trust the adjuster, you can trust the adjuster to look out for his employer, but don't expect him or her to look out for you -- no matter what he or she says, that isn't the adjuster's job.
Assuming that your vehicle is totaled and is not repairable, you are entitled to receive the fair market retail value of your vehicle. That is determined by the make and model of your car and its condition, including the number of miles it had been driven at the time it was struck in the collision.
There are a number of online sites which can give you a fair market value for your used vehicle. You can also consult a local used car dealer and see if they can give you a written estimate of the value of your vehicle. You then can use these estimates to negotiate a fair price with Alamo.You can also check local papers for ads for cars like yours.
Remember, you are entitled to the retail value, not wholesale.
Everything is negotiable to an extent; so don't necessarily accept Alamo's first offer as being its best offer. You're looking to get a new car; so I assume that yours would cost more to repair than it is worth, i.e. it is a total loss.
Do some research so you have an idea of what is within the realm of possibilities. Check kbb.com and cars.com. Unless your car was brand new with tons of upgrades, it is probably going to be awfully difficult to get anywhere near enough to replace what you had. It's gonna be even tougher to get a new car.
If you were injured in this whole thing, give me a call. I'm in Broward.
Best of luck,
Dennis Phillips, Esq.
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