If I carry liability only on my car which I bought for $7000 a year ago and I was just rear-ended in an accident, what do I do?

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2014

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If I carry liability only on my car which I bought for $7000 a year ago and I was just rear-ended in an accident, what do I do?

I was rear-ended and my car was totaled. The responsible party’s insurance company is offering less than $4000. The only recourse they offer is to find like vehicles from 2 sources within 100 miles. None are available.

Asked on July 18, 2014 under Accident Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What you paid for the car is irrelevant; what matter is what it's fair market, or "blue book," value was on the day it was hit, based on make, model, year, mileage, accessories, and condition. If that number is, or is close to, $4,000, you are being offered what you should for the car. The insurer's only obligation is to pay what the car was worth in the fair market when it was totalled. If the fair market value is much more than  $4,000, you don't need to accept the insurer's offer: you could sue the responsible driver for the full value of your car and, if you can prove that he/she was  at fault (which is likely, in a rear-end collision) and the value of your car, you can recover that amount.

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