If I’m still making payments on my car and a driver crossed center line, hitting me head on and totaling my car, how much should I receive in damages?

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If I’m still making payments on my car and a driver crossed center line, hitting me head on and totaling my car, how much should I receive in damages?

Asked on January 27, 2015 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you have your own insurance, they will pay the current value of the car, not the remaining amount on your payments, unless you have gap insurance. They'll also pay towing, car rental, etc. if you have those coverages.

If you do not have insurance, you could sue the at-fault driver for compensation--it's also possibly that his/her insurer will offer you a settlement, but if they don't voluntarily offer, your only recourse is to sue the driver. (You sue the driver, not his or her insurer; the insurer then steps in to defend and/or pay for the driver.) In that case, you could potentially recover, if you win your lawsuit, all your losses--i.e. not just the car's value, but also any remaining balance you have to pay on the loan. You could also try to recover other out-of-pocket losses or amounts paid, such as car rental.


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