What are my chances of collecting the additional money I lost after the accident? 37 Answers as of July 08, 2013

I have been rear-ended. I just finished paying off my car loan for a total of $15,000. The car was totaled and the insurance company said they could only pay $13,000 which was the value of the car. What are my chances of collecting the additional money I lost?

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Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
Slim to none. Your damages are based on the value of the car as of the time of the accident, not the amount that you paid when you originally bought it. Do some research to find out if the insurance company is lowballing you. If you can come up with some evidence that the car was worth more, show them what you've got and offer to split the difference.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/11/2012
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
Under Louisiana law, the insurance company is only responsible for paying the actual cash value of your vehicle at the time of the accident. You may want to check to see if you had any gap insurance on your vehicle. Gap insurance will make up the difference in the amount you owe versus the value of the vehicle.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 1/5/2012
Ford, Howard & Cornett, P.C. | Bradley Cornett
You do not mention whether you are dealing with your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company. Either way, the measure of damages is the difference between the value of the vehicle before the accident and the value of the vehicle after the accident. For a total loss, that would be the fair market value of the vehicle on the day of the accident. What you owed on the vehicle is irrelevant. (If you hit a $10,000 car, should you have to pay $20,000 for it just because the owner owes more than it is worth? Your debt does not make the care worth more.) The value of the car is what is relevant. You need to focus on proving that the vehicle was worth more than has been offered to you. Get a quote from a used care dealer, use online resources like Kelly Blue Book, etc. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/3/2012
Goodman & Goodman PA | Bruce Elliott Goodman
Whether you are pursuing this claim through the insurer for the vehicle that hit you or your own collision coverage, no insurance company will pay you more than the fair market value of your vehicle. The amount that you owed on the purchase money loan for the vehicle at the time of the accident is not material to the value of the vehicle. However, an attorney could assist you in negotiating the actual fair market value of your vehicle. Also, your question does not state whether you had a bodily injury in this accident, but if your did, an attorney could assist you in that claim as well.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 1/3/2012
Adesina Law Office, P.C.
Adesina Law Office, P.C. | Adebayo Adesina
If you have additional losses, yes you can sue the liable party and request lost wages, physical damages-if you have bodily injury e.t.c. However, insurance companies are more likely to cooperate if you're represented by counsel.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/3/2012
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
    Generally, insurance carriers are obliged to reimburse you the fair market "replacement value" of the vehicle. That is to say, the amount of money required for you to replace the vehicle of the same year, make and model and with the same general features.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/3/2012
    Neighborhood Law Office, P.C.
    Neighborhood Law Office, P.C. | Jim Underhill
    The odds are that the Insurance company is simply low-balling you. The insurance company is required to pay you for your actual loss, less the deductible. Many insurance companies are much worse than others in trying to low ball. You should continue to argue with the adjustor. Make sure that you document extras on the car, like after market sound systems, blue tooth add ons, special detailing, etc., all these things serve to increase the value of the car and increase the amount they should be paying.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    The additional monies may come from your pain and sufferings. Were you injured in your car accident? If so, you are entitled to compensation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    You are entitled to compensation for all damages (what you lost). For property damage, it is the value of the car, not what you paid for it. You do not say what else you lost besides the car. If there were valuable items inside your car that were destroyed, you may be able to get these also, if you can prove they were there and destroyed. YOU can recover damages for any injuries you received, including lost wages, cost of medical treatment, and pain and suffering.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC
    E. Ray Critchett, LLC | Ray Critchett
    Generally, if you owe $15,000 on your vehilce and it is "totaled" in a collision, you are only entitled to be compensated for the fair market value of the car. If that is only $13,000, you may not be able to collect the remaining $2,000.00 from the at-fault-driver. However, you should review your own insurance to see if you have GAP insurance coverage and/or some other form of coverage which may assist you with this difference.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/25/2012
    Law Office of Dean B. Gordon
    Law Office of Dean B. Gordon | Dean B. Gordon
    You are only entitled to the Fair Market Value of the vehicle at the time of the accident. It doesn't matter how much you owe. You may be able to recover something for loss of use for the reasonable time it would take you to replace the vehicle if you had the financial ability to do so. Sometimes, you can get the equivalent of a car rental for about a month.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    I would have to know more facts about the loan and see the financing statements along with your insurance policy to be sure.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Hodges Law Firm, LLC | Warner Russell Hodges
    It sounds like you have only settled your property damage (car). This leaves open (there is a time element) a period of time to pursue your other damages.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    You are only entitled to the value of the car in a "property damage" claim. The remaining money is just interest, and is essentially the money you paid for the privilege of taking the car immediately and being allowed to make payments on it. However, you can recover additional money in a "personal injury" claim. Obviously that only works if you were actually injured, and have been to the doctor.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    The loan value has nothing to do with the value of the car. the insurance company is obligated to pay the fair market value of the car.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    You can collect the fair market value of the car. does not make any difference what the insurance carrier says about value. The question is: what is the fair market value? thst is what you are entitled to. If they wont pay FMV you may sue them for the FMV
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Your changes are not too good. The other driver's insurance company I think,totalled your car and paid you the current market value for it. Your facts are unclear as to who caused the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C.
    The Law Offices of Paul A. Samakow, P.C. | Paul A. Samakow
    Your chances are zero. The obligation of the at fault party is to pay you the value of your vehicle. You "lost" the money because your vehicle depreciated and because you had payments. If you had paid all cash for the vehicle at purchase, the actual funds "less" would be less. As an example, suppose over the life of your loan on the car you paid $1500.00 in interest payments. If you paid all cash, in that example and using your $15,000 number, the vehicle cost was $13,500.00. So, when you get value of $13,000.00, the difference is only $500.00, not $2,000.00. Best to you.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Well, the likelihood of collecting a judgment depends on the judgment debtor having assets and a stream of income upon which to execute. But in the situation you've described you are saying, essentially you either paid too much for the car or you borrowed too much against it. After an accident in which the car is a total loss you are paid the market value of the car just prior to the collision. In this instance you are agreeing (I'm not sure why....) that the car had a value less than the $15,000 you owed on it. Credit Unions and banks are pretty good about not lending too much money on things like cars. They have a pretty good idea of a car's value prior to lending money for it to be purchased. So make sure you're right about the car's value just prior to the collision. You may after all be short changing yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    You can sue, but if the value of the car was what you say, then that would be the amount the insurance company would have to pay, not the amount of the loan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew J Spinnell, LLC
    Law Offices of Andrew J Spinnell, LLC | Andrew J Spinnell
    There is a presumption of liability on the other car in a rear end collision so your chances of winning liability are very good. Collecting the difference is another matter. Did you sign a release in order to receive the insurance money? If so you cannot collect any more money. If not you can sue and try to collect by a property or income execution. The assets of the other auto driver and owner need to be known in order to assess your chances.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    First of all, if your vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company is responsible for the value of the vehicle plus sales tax. That would get you some additional funds if not already paid
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 12/30/2011
    THE LAMPEL FIRM
    THE LAMPEL FIRM | ERIC LAMPEL
    Very good. You need to sue the other driver, unless you had to sign a Release to get the $13k.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Most likely none if you had to give the insurer for the car which caused your accident made you sign a release.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael Stern | Michael Stern
    You are only entitled to the depreciated value of your auto, unless you have gap insurance, which pays the additional difference. If you are injured, you won't collect for the difference in a settlement, though a good attorney should more than make up for it in a settlement or verdict.
    Answer Applies to: Vermont
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    You should be able to get money for pain and suffering and medical costs, plus the value of the car.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Not good. You have to establish fair market value and they probably have their report, which they should give to you, that establishes the $13,000 amount. Ask for it if they did not get it to you already. You can try to argue for more money, but doubtful they will agree. Sometimes they pay extra if you can show you just bought tires or got a new engine or did something extraordinary not too long before the accident. That may get you a few extra bucks.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    When someone is negligent and they damage your car you are entitled to recover the lesser of the fair market value of the vehicle or the reasonable cost of repair. So if it is cheaper to total out the car than fix it that is what you are stuck with. If your car is totaled then you are entitled to the fair market value of the car. You are not stuck with whatever the insurance company says. You should do your own research to determine the fair market value of the car. You are not entitled to what you paid for the car or what you owe on the car. You are only entitled to the fair market value of the car. Meaning you are basically able to collect the amount you could have sold your car to before the accident. You are also entitled to have a rental car or the value of the loss of use of the vehicle while it is being repaired or while you are waiting to be paid the cars value. You should be given a reasonable period of time to find a replacement vehicle as well.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    You are entitled to reasonable repair or value of the car at the time of the loss. You had lost $2,000.00 at time of accident whether or not there was an accident. It is called depreciation. You are also entitled to loss of use - cost of renting vehicle or obtining other transportation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    McKell Christiansen
    McKell Christiansen | Michael McKell
    Zero in my jurisdiction. The insurance company is only required to pay for the actual value of the car regardless of the amount owed.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    In Louisiana you are only able to collect for the value of your car at the time it is rendered a "total loss". It is a truism that a car is automatically worth less (depreciates) the moment it is driven off of the car lot. Fortunately for you, the car was "paid off," and you actually have the $13,000 to go and purchase another vehicle. Many who purchase new cars that are then "totaled" end up not receiving enough from their insurance proceeds to pay off the loan on the new vehicle. You are also able to seek damages for any injuries you may have received in the accident, even if those injuries were minor, such as headaches, muscle strains and sprains, etc. You should be able to recover the expenses of your medical treatment, as well as damages for your pain and suffering, in an amount depending on the severity of the injury.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Two chances. Slim and none. The small differential is surprising. Take the money.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    That depends entirely on the facts of your collision. The at-fault party is responsible for your damages, and if you had additional damages you are entitled to make a claim for them. If the insurer won't pay any more, then you need to consider getting an attorney to help you compel payment for the rest through litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    Generally speaking, if you owe more money on the loan for the car than the fair market value of the car, you are "upside down" on the loan. Unfortunately, if the vehicle is a total loss, the insurance company is not required to pay more money to you simply because you are "upside down" or over financed with your car loan. They are only obligated to pay the "fair market value" of your car. Often when you purchase a vehicle, you can get gap insurance to bridge the gap between what your vehicle is worth and what you owe on the car loan. Having gap insurance is a life saver for anyone in trouble of being upside down on a car loan because of a car accident. You have to decide whether it is worth the cost to you.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    In Indiana, the answer is "slim to none." Assuming that the value of the car is actually $13,000, that amount would be all you would be entitled to recover from the person who rear-ended you. If on the other hand, you can prove that the car is worth more than $13,000, you can pursue the person who hit you for the difference.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/17/2012
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