What to do if I was recently the victim of a hit and run accident in which the other driver was in a stolen vehicle?

I carry no collision or comprehensive but I do carry uninsured motorists coverage for up to $3,500 per accident. My car was rendered inoperable by the accident and the insurance company’s appraiser estimated the cost to repair the damage to be $3,931; the estimate of the value of the vehicle to be at least $1,000 higher than any other estimate I have found (most of the value estimates I found were less than the cost to repair the vehicle). I was also told that any payout would be contingent upon repairing the vehicle. This all seems shady to me. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on March 20, 2012 under Accident Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written, it seems that you will be forced to place a claim for the damage to your vehicle under your own underinsured/uninsured policy even though you are free to bring a legal action against the thief of the vehicle that struck your car. I would also make a claim against the owner of the car that struck yours as well. Possibly the owner may have been negligent in allowing his or her car to have been stolen.

The problem in your situation is that under the law, the damages that you are entitled to are the costs of repair of the fair market value of the car (lesser of the two).

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