I was at a stop light on Preston Road and Mockingbird. A woman slammed into me 2 times, after 3 weeks of aggravation, the insurance company said that my car was totaled and only worth $6000.00. My car was a 2008 g35 sedan, Infinity. I took great care of that car, and it was always serviced by Infinity. IT had 106,000 miles on it, and I was not planning on getting a car for a couple more years. I was not hurt, however, I have had to spend time making numerous calls, and getting information concerning this wreck. She caused it and now I'm paying.
Legally, the insurance company owes you the repair amount of your vehicle. If the damages to your vehicle exceed the value of the vehicle, or your state has a percentage of the total actual cash value used to determine if a vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company does not have a duty to pay to repair your vehicle, to get you a replacement vehicle, or pay off your loan; it only owes you what is called actual cash value or fair market value, basically what a vehicle similar to yours (same year, make, model, accessories, condition, and mileage) would have sold for on the open market prior to the motor vehicle accident. If you have a loan balance or are upside-down on an auto loan, the insurance company does not owe you for the balance of your loan, either, as they are not responsible for your being upside-down on a loan if what you owe is higher than the actual cash value of the vehicle. No one owes you for making a bad financial decision when applying for a loan.
It doesn't matter if you had your own collision coverage with your insurance company or if you used the at-fault person's insurance company. If you think the insurance company is not giving you the actual cash value/fair market value, you can do your own research into the value of your car by checking Kelly Blue Book's website, NADA's website, or do a search of want ads in your area to confirm what a similar vehicle is selling for right now. You can also request, however, from the at-fault party’s insurance company a rental vehicle until they make an offer (or they will have to reimburse you for a rental vehicle during that time).
In some states, you may be able to keep the car and have a salvage title issued, but then you won’t be able to register it for road use until it has been repaired. The insurance company will then deduct from the total loss of your vehicle the salvage value of the vehicle, so you won’t be getting either the true estimated amount to repair your vehicle or the true actual cash value of your totaled vehicle, either.
Lastly, if you were injured, your best bet is to consult with an attorney in your area to obtain a more specific answer and get all of your legal options before deciding what to do. The attorney will also investigate all available coverages to ensure you have the maximum amount of coverages available to you. You can use the "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of this page for names of attorneys in your area. Most offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t have to pay anything up front.
Please do not message me for further advice. If you are in need of an attorney to assist you, please search for another attorney in the jurisdiction involved in your case, as I am now retired, and my former law firm is no longer handling these types of cases. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service at this point.
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If you have no collision, all the Defendant's carrier owes is the ACV of the vehicle. Your alternative now that you have given a statement (I assume) and since you have no medical bills, they can get away with paying only the loan value (below retail and wholesale. You can sue them but it is not economical to do so. Sorry.
My answer is not a legal opinion and is not made to you or anyone as a client. it is primarily practical advice in connection with how these matters should be handled based on 43 years of experience, as a former Tort/ Product Liability Adjunct Professor, and having handled and tried to a verdict many product liability and liability cases.
Unfortunately, hiring a lawyer may not be cost-effective. You can sue the responsible parties in justice court (small claims court). Note there is a $10,000 limit on recovery in justice court.
Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services. My Avvo posts are based on limited information provided and are not intended as conclusive legal advice.
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