Should I go through arbitration with my insurer or take someone to small claims court for my automobile expenses?

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Should I go through arbitration with my insurer or take someone to small claims court for my automobile expenses?

About 2 months ago I was rear-ended at a green light. A police report was filed, no ticket was issued to the woman who hit me and there were no witnesses. Her insurance company is not accepting liability for damages because the woman is claiming that she never actually hit my car. I have pictures through my insurer documenting the damage to my car, along with the police report which has our 2 statements. I cannot afford to pay the deductible to have my car fixed prior to taking it through arbitration. What do you think would be the best option?

Asked on March 14, 2015 under Accident Law, North Carolina

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since the insurance company of the party who hit your car is denying liability, arbitration might not accomplish much of anything as for you receiving compensation.

It would be advisable to sue the person who hit your car for negligence.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your car, deductible and cost of a rental car.

  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  You will also need to mitigate damages by selecting an auto body repair shop whose fees are comparable to other auto body repair shops in your area.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find and/or the most expensive auto body repair shop you could find, you will have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.

 


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