Is there any recourse?

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Is there any recourse?

A semi-truck slammed into a suburban which hit our daughter. She was the 3rd vehicle in a 4 vehicle accident. She was not at fault. Her vehicle is totaled. The insurance company settled for $12,200 minus our $500 deductible. She has a loan on the vehicle with a balance of $13,600. Does she have any recourse to get the amount raised to cover her loan? Can she do anything against the truck

driver who caused the accident?

Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Don’t want to

spend the money on a lawyer if it is a waste of time. Might just as well cut our

losses.

Asked on May 15, 2018 under Accident Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no recourse to get the balance of the loan; all she can get is the difference between what was paid to her (e.g. $11,700, taking account of the deductible) and the then-current (as of the time of the accident) fair market or "blue book" value of the car. The law does not car about what you paid for or owe on the car, since that varies so much--some people may get cars as gifts from family or a significant other; some people had good trade-ins or are good at negotiating deals, while others may have overpaid; etc.  The law looks only to the provable fair market value of the vehicle to determine how much compensation you get. At a minimum, your daughter could sue the truck driver (and his employer and/or owner of the truck, if those are not all the same person) for her deductible, such as in small claims court, as her own attorney or "pro se." If the insurance settlement was overall low (e.g. FMV was $13,000, not $12,200), she could sue for the remainder of the FMV, too. But she cannot recover the loan balance.


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