You can take the offer, or you can continue to try to negotiate with them on your own. Or, you can hire an attorney to write a demand letter on your behalf to let the insurance company know you are serious about collecting fully for your damages. This attorney may also represent you in potential litigation to collect from the driver or the insurance company.
This response is informational only and not legal advice. Further, this response does not establish an attorney/ client relationship.
My suspicion is that the insurance company is claiming that you were partially at fault, thus reducing the amount of payment by that percentage.
Unfortunately, this is a common thing done, often by lower-end insurance carriers. They are, in essence, nickel and diming you. It is unfair, and outrageous, and unjust. It is also not really worth fighting in court, where you'll be forced to prove everything from liability to the reasonableness of the repairs. In short, take the money and see if your carrier will be able to do something to help you out.
Usuallly I agree with Mr. Hoffman, but in this case I do not. I respect his opinion, but I would not settle.
If you take the money, you are not going to be able to get your own insurance company to help you in all likelihood. The other driver's insurance company is almost certainly going to insist on you signing what is called a "release" to get dime one from them. No release, no money. If you release your claim, you have no right to any more money for anything.
This other insurance company isn't just nickel and diming you. They are giving you the bum's rush. And you are foolish if you fall for it. There is really no need for a lawyer in this case. You should sue the other party in small claims court and ask for a six person Jury to hear the case. Have the other party served by certified mail if he lives in the same county to keep the costs down. Plan on having a damage estimator come to court with you to testify on your behalf.
You can probably hire a young lawyer to handle this case for you for a 1/;3 contingency fee. Even if you pay 1/3 of $2,500 to a lawyer and court costs of $200, you are still way ahead of 80% of $1000 without a lawsuit. Do the math.
Don't be a chump and take short money. That just plays into the game the other insurance company is playing here.
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