What are my rights regarding a car accident settlement?

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What are my rights regarding a car accident settlement?

My car had never been in an accident before. It was hit in the bottom bumper. The police arrived and noted the accident. I called to the insurance company of the lady who hit me. They agreed to settle this, offered their body shop. I tried to call my dealer, but they had a line for about a month and couldn’t provide anything faster. So I agreed to the suggested dealer. I brought my car in, they did an estimate, sent it to me. It was about 4K. I agreed verbally, they started working on my car. Then they adjusted the repair price to about 5 K. After they finished, the insurance company brought me a check. I then drove to the body shop and collected my repaired car. As it was discovered during the review of what they did (they pulled the frame), there was frame damage. After that, I went to CarMax and they estimated the trade-in value of the car. They mentioned the accident in the auto check, inspected the car, found frame damage, offered the price – 9.5K for the auction, as there is a frame damage. KBB average trade-in price for this car at the time of Car Max estimate was about 12.7K. So I sent a diminishing value claim, with attachment of the car max trade in value and KBB value. I asked about 3.2K compensation.They accepted my claim and sent me check for about 1.2K compensation only. Is it worth to fight with the insurance company more or with the lady who hit me? How hard would it be to fight my 2K missing money back?

Asked on March 2, 2018 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It may be very difficult to get the money. You can't simply show the KBB average and rely on it to prove your case:
1) Legally, the document is not admissible in court, since there is no foundation for it; you would need some exert car dealer or appraiser or adjuster, with expertise/experience in valuation, to introduce the KBB info and explain how it is considered reliable in and used in the industry, to establish why it should be given credence. Documents cannot be introduced on their own in court: there must be appropriate live testimony to back them up.
2) Further, even after you get the KBB (or similar, general valuation) information in, that still doesn't mean it shows the value of *your* car: value varies by mileage, by options, by state of maintenance and repair, by condition, etc. You'd have to some automotive expert examine your car (the one traded in) and testify in court as to why, in his/her expert opinion, it was worth a certain amount.
3) And then you'd also need testimony showing that it was damage from *this* accident and no other cause which lowered the value.
In short, proving the diminished value from this accident may be very difficult and would involve paying hundreds of dollars (at least) for an expert to examine your vehicle and testify in court.


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