Am I entitled to more compensation?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I entitled to more compensation?

I recently purchased a new car for $19,000. I made a $2,000 down payment and traded my vehicle in for a credit of $1,000. While in my house a elderly woman ran into my car while parked on the street legally. The vehicle is assessed as totaled and now her insurance is offering $16,000 for the vehicle. Which means I lose out on the $3,000 I put down. They claim that’s their only offer and is non negotiable. I don’t feel I should be losing money when someone hits my car without any fault to me.

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Accident Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You are entitled to the then-current fair market or blue book value: the law compensates you based on what something is worth when it is destroyed, not on what you paid, which could be more than its value (e.g. if you struck a bad deal, or due to depreciation) or less (if a friend or family member sold it to you at a bargain rate, or even gave it to you for free). If the current blue book value is more than $16,000, you could refuse the offer and sue the at-fault driver (you sue the driver, not the insurer) for whatever the blue book value is. But again, it's only the then-current fair market value of the car to which you are entitled; what you paid, what you put down, what you traded in, etc. is not relevant.

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 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.

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