If a driver ran their car into my porch and I’ve the driver’s insurer an estimate for $4600 but they sent an adjuster who gave them a $2800 estimate, are they legally allowed to adjust a 3rd party claim?

They destroyed the stairs and my contractor will not do the job for $2800. Don’t I have the right to choose who does the repair?

Asked on July 25, 2015 under Insurance Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Until and unless you sue the other driver and win, getting a judgment in your favor, he/she and his/her insurer have the right to make any offers they like...but you don't need to accept their offer. Their offer of $2,800 is not legally binding unless and until you accept it; if you don't want to accept it, you can refuse to take it and can sue the at-fault driver for the full amount of your costs and loses (e.g. $4,600). You also could try to negotiate to a higher number, by letting them know that if all they are going to offer is $2,800, you will sue--that may prompt them to raise their offer. 

Of course, law suits cost money--though not much, if you act as your own attorney ("pro se") and sue in small claims court--and take time out of work (all court days are during the regular workweek). Therefore, it is often worth taking less than the full amount you want, if it will let you avoid the time and cost of litigation.


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