Can I refuse my repaired car if it is less than $500 from being totaled and do I have rights to emotional damages from the accident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I refuse my repaired car if it is less than $500 from being totaled and do I have rights to emotional damages from the accident?

After being discharged from the hospital from having surgery my husband,son and I were all involved in a hit and run accident coming down the highway. My insurance provided a rental immediately and over 30 days later my car is still not ready. I had to turn the rental car back in because they were going to make me pay for anything past the 30 day mark. I am without a car and my damages were less than $400 away from being totaled. Can I refuse the car once it is finished and demand that they total it? Also, my son was involved in another accident with my aunt last year and this one was really difficult on him. His anxiety is super high when riding in the car and he is always nervous when we are in parking lots around moving cars. I have been out of work since the accident partially because of my surgery but am I entitled to any kind of payment due to these circumstances?

Asked on August 6, 2018 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) No, you cannot demand that they total it. Even if the damage exceeded the car's value, the insurer has the right to pay for repairs if it wants. The insurer, not you, makes the decision as to when to total a car.
2) No, there is no compensation for emotional damages in a car accident unless you can prove that it wasn't an "accident"--that rather, that the other person deliberately hit you. It takes an intentional wrongful act--a deliberate attempt to harm--to make emotional damages potentially availabile  in a car accident.

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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