Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 12, 2012

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Insurance Question from Brooklyn, NY

Asked on 01/12/2012

Can I hope to get more than actual cash value? I was in an accident with a truck. It was the other driver's fault. They have totalled my car. I didn't accept their offer. They simply stated that they aren't authorized to pay more than the cash value. They didn't offer arbitration. Am I legally entitled to arbitration? I am seeking to be reimbursed for the value of the taxes, fees, etc. to put an identical car on the road. If the insurance company doesn't budge, will a judge in a small claims court side with me if I clearly prove that the accident was not my fault? I seriously think that this situation shouldn't cost me anything.

Answer given on January 13, 2012

Unfortunately, that is the hard reality of it.  An auto accident, whether your fault or not, does cost you.  The insurance company is correct, they are only entitled to pay by contractual obligation (the insurance policy) the actual cost of the damage.  If you have to buy another car this is on your dime…. including taxes, license, tags, registrations.  They have paid you for the direct damage that their driver caused. You can check to see if their offer for the ACV of your car is in line at kellybluebook.com or other sites that will give you the value for your year make a model.  The sooner you settle, the sooner you can put it behind you and move to your next brand new vehicle.


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