Can i file a gap claim after a settlement?

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Can i file a gap claim after a settlement?

Wife was hit from behind. Other driver was at
fault and cited. Other drivers insurance is offering
a little over 6 thousand for the total loss. This will
cover our title loan but not enough to cover the
remaining balance on the vehicle lease. The
insurance company said if we use our gap to
cover the lease they will not pay us our
settlement.

Asked on April 25, 2017 under Accident Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have settled the claim, you generally cannot then seek additional compensation from anyone. While you need to check the terms of any proposed or actual settlement agreement to be sure, those agreements typically include language to the effect that a certain payment (the settlement amount) is in full satisfaction of the claim, or that you give up your right to sue or seek any additional compensation. If the agreement does not restrict your ability to seek other compensation, you should be able to, so long as the total of the settlement and what you are seeking does not exceed the amount to which you otherwise would be entitled (e.g. the fair market value of a totalled car plus any GAP coverage you have). Note that you cannot "double recover," so you can't get more than the fair market value plus (if you have GAP) having the GAP coverage pay off any loans, no matter how many different parties or insurers pay.
Note also that unless you sued and won, getting a judgment in your favor requiring the other side to pay, any payment by the other driver and/or his/her insurer is voluntary, and the other side or their insurer can put limitations on it: that is, they can say that if you submit a GAP claim, they will not settle, and that would leave you having to sue in order to try to get money from them.


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