Can I sue the party that totaled my car for the difference the insurance would not pay?

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Can I sue the party that totaled my car for the difference the insurance would not pay?

A girl was speeding out of an alley and totaled my car. The insurance accepted liability and she only had limited liability. My insurance paid me an amount because finding a safe car like mine was not possible. To find a car with low miles and well kept it took us an additional $10,000. Can I go after the person that hit us in a lawsuit?

Asked on April 26, 2011 under Accident Law, Washington

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your insurance check cleared and it stated anywhere that by accepting payment you extinguished your claim in total from both the insurance company and the insured, then no. But if you haven't extinguished your rights and the statute of limitations has not run, you can certainly attempt to sue keeping in mind that if she files bankruptcy, you pretty much will not be able to collect one dime from her. Seems here that you obtained what was legally supposed to be awarded to you by both your insurance company and the insurance company of the person who hit your vehicle. The insurance company (either one) really only has to pay the value at the time of the hit or replacement value at time of the hit but whichever is less. If you sue, the court will ask (and if she has counsel, she will bring in the fact) regarding insurance coverage and previous payments to you by both her insurance company and yours.


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