What can I do if I had a minor traffic accident and we basically “traded paint” but the other guy’s insurance wants to total my vehicle?

People who gave me an estimate say that is very excessive. My insurance will pay for repairs minus my deductible. Can I get my car repaired and then sue in small claims court to recover the deductible?

Asked on July 23, 2015 under Accident Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do not need to take "the other guy's insur[er's]" offer. You can accept the compensation offered by your insurer (repairs less deductible), the sue the other driver in small claims court to recover the deductible. If you can prove that he was at fault (e.g. driving negligently or carelessly, such as speeding, following too closely, texting while driving, going through a stop sign or light, etc.), you should be able to recover your deductible. Suing in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") to save on legal fess is a good option for recovering deductibles.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.