How to recover the loss when the at fault party does not have enough coverage

My vehicle was rear ended, the damage cost
estimated to be 3.5k by the at-fault
party’s insurance co., my car was pushed to
hit the car in front the damage cost is
2k. But they have only a 5k limit they
suggested me to have my insurance co. pay for
the repair 1st. My insurance co. can waive my
deductible, but not the rental expense
because my policy does not have rental
coverage, but they can help me send to the
at-fault insurance co. to get reimbursement.
Will I get a chance that I won’t get
reimbursed for the rental?

Also, there was a chip that is less than a
quarter sized on my windshield and I had it
repaired by my insurance co., but right after
the collision, the windshield started to
crack, the crack is 10 inches long. But their
insurance co. said this is not related to the
accident, please advise. Thanks.

Asked on February 24, 2016 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

People think that you can only recover from insurance--not so. You can sue the at-fault party for any amounts not paid to you by insurance (either your or his) and, if you win the suit, he will have to pay them out of pocket. (Admittedly, this presupposes he has the income or assets to pay; if he doesn't have the money to pay, it doesn't matter if you win the lawsuit--you can't recover money when there is none.) This includes recovering your deductible, car rental costs, any damage not paid by your insurance, etc.).
If you believe that the windshield crack is the result of the accident and your insurer is wrong to deny payment, you could also sue the insurer for "breach of contract"--i.e. for not honoring its contactual obligations (an insurance policy is a contract). However, this could be more effort and time than it is worth for the cost of windscreen.

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