Am I responsible for the balance of my car after it’s been totaled in an accident that wasn’t my fault?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I responsible for the balance of my car after it’s been totaled in an accident that wasn’t my fault?

My son was driving my car and another driver ran a stop sign and hit him. The driver then left the scene, but was later caught; they found meth and needles in their car. My car was totaled and my insurance company is telling me that they will only pay a certain amount on my car, basically blue book, plus 25%, because I have GAP coverage. After that payment, I still owe nearly $2,200 on the car. My insurer is telling me that I have to pay that. Is this true? I don’t

understand why I have to pay anything. I found out the other driver was

covered under his dad’s policy and it’s through the same company as mine. I

guess the real question is, do I really have to pay? I can’t get another car until this one is paid off and I don’t have the cash to pay it off. So because some 20 year old was on drugs and ran a stop sign, I now don’t have a car? This just doesn’t seem right.

Asked on August 29, 2016 under Accident Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you really have to pay: you are contractually obligated (the financing agreement is a contract) to pay all amounts (e.g. the remaining balance) not paid by insurance. However, you may sue the at fault driver (and/or the owner of the car he/she was driving, if the at-fault driver was not the vehicle's owner; the owners of cars are responsible for the actions of those whom they allow to drive their cars) for any amounts not paid by insurance for you. Unfortunately, you have to sue for the money, and you do have to pay off the remaining balance--the lender, etc. may not sue directly on your behalf, because their connection is to you, not to the other driver (that is, the contract is with you, not the other driver). So you have to pay off the balance, but can then sue the other driver, who based on what you write was at fault in causing the accident, and/or that car's owner to recover your money.

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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