How do I know if insurance company offer is adequate?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How do I know if insurance company offer is adequate?

I was hit by a medical transport ambulance while stopped for a bridge opening. He
was cited for following too closely and inattentive driving. My car 2000 infinity i30
has been declared a total loss by their insurance. They are pushing for me to agree
to settle for 2700.00, repair bid is 4600.

Asked on June 4, 2016 under Accident Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the other drive (the ambulance driver) was "at fault" (driving carelessly) in hitting you, as it seems he was, you are entitled to the lesser of the repair cost or the then-current fair market value (blue book value); or rather, that's what you'd get if you went to trial and won. Often, you accept less than that if you take a settlement before having to file a lawsuit, because you save on all the costs and time of a lawsuit, making a lesser amount worthwhile.
So if the repair cost is $4,000, but the current fair market value was less than that, they'd only owe you at most the fair market value. If the FMV was, say, $3,600, then if they are offering $2,700, you could hold out for $3,600...but would have to decide whether the time, effort, cost, etc. of a lawsuit is worth the extrra $900.
Note that if your car's FMV was more than $4,000 and the repair cost was $4,000, it should NOT be considered a "total loss"--if it's FMV was, say, $8,000 or more, it clearly should be repaired, not totalled. (Sometime, if the FMV is only a little more than the repair cost, it's still worth totalling, since the uncertainty and effort involved in repairing, plus the resulting reduction in value, makes it more economical to total; but if the value is signficantly more than the repair cost, it should be repaired.)

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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