What to do if my parked car was hit by an uninsured driver which then hit another car?

No one was in either of the parked cars. The police were called and he was taken to jail since I think he may have been drunk also. I filed an insurance claim and have full coverage since I have a loan and owe $14,000 on the car still. I also have GAP insurance. The car is in the shop getting an estimate for repairs but I have a feeling they are going to total it since it was hit from the rear dead on and then hit another car. If this is the case, the money I get from the insurance company probably will just cover the cost of what I owe on the car since it’s worth about what I owe. So I’m out a car. What do I do? How can I get full replacement value?

Asked on November 12, 2012 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, you need to keep working through your insurance providers to get the car paid for-- so at least you don't walk away with a totaled car and a ton of debt.  How much you will get depends on your policy limits and the extent of your coverage.  Unfortunately, insurance companies write the policies such that they only have to pay blue book value, not replacement value-- however, there are some policies that give you slightly more coverage.  So review your policy, see the extent of your coverage, and it if provides for replacement value, invoke that provision.  If they refuse, you could obtain an attorney to help you with the insurance claim.  If your insurance coverage only gives you blue book-- then your options are limited from the insurance side of options.

After that, you have two other avenues for being made whole, but both are going to take time since the other driver did not have insurance.  The first is to file a suit against the driver for the property damage.  The issue with most suits for damage is not the success of the suit, it is the success of collecting on a judgment against a defendent with limited funds.  When you shop around for a car wreck attorney, look for one that has experience in collecting on judgments-- not just getting high judgments.  You may be able to hire an attorney that will help you with your insurance issues and the suit-- so that you save money on legal fees. 

Your second avenue is to follow through with the prosecuting agency.  If this defendant was drunk, and you were a victim of his drunk driving, then many prosecutors will ask for restitution for the victims of drunk drivers.  Sometimes, when faced with the option of jail time versus pay the restitution, many defendants have an amazing ability to come up with money for restitution. 


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