I'm taking a huge loss on my totaled vehicle and the crash investigation said it wasn't my fault. What recourse do I have?

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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: Apr 17, 2018

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Insurance Question from Camp Johnson, VT

Asked on 04/17/2018

I'm taking a huge loss on my totaled vehicle and the crash investigation said it wasn't my fault. What recourse do I have? I bought my 2004 Mercedes for $15,000 2 years ago and it was struck by another driver and deemed totaled by my insurance company. The accident was not my fault, and the other driver's insurance and claimed full liability for it. They offered me $7,787 for it, which is from NADA. My car was in mint condition and very hard to determine value for. I now have to buy another car, but their offer comes no where near enough to purchase a car of similar quality and build and mileage. I need about $12,000 to buy a similar car. What are my choices? I'm taking a huge financial hit when the accident wasn't my fault. Please help!

Answer given on April 18, 2018

In automobile insurance, the insurance company will only pay the actual cash value of the car at the time it is considered a total loss.  The value is determined by either the NADA, Blue Book or Gold Book.

You can challenge the valuation, but you must support it with evidence of a higher value. You can do this with an appraisal or with proof of a higher value such as an ad in a local newspaper, from a used car dealer’s ad or on the internet, but it must be in the same vicinity as where you live. (In other words not in Texas if you are in Vermont)  If you can provide this, call the adjuster. If they still refuse to amend the settlement offer, ask to speak to a supervisor and present the evidence.  If you cannot find any such evidence, then you won’t get any additional funds for your car.


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