What can I do if I had a minor traffic accident and we basically “traded paint” but the other guy’s insurance wants to total my vehicle?

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What can I do if I had a minor traffic accident and we basically “traded paint” but the other guy’s insurance wants to total my vehicle?

People who gave me an estimate say that is very excessive. My insurance will pay for repairs minus my deductible. Can I get my car repaired and then sue in small claims court to recover the deductible?

Asked on July 23, 2015 under Accident Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do not need to take "the other guy's insur[er's]" offer. You can accept the compensation offered by your insurer (repairs less deductible), the sue the other driver in small claims court to recover the deductible. If you can prove that he was at fault (e.g. driving negligently or carelessly, such as speeding, following too closely, texting while driving, going through a stop sign or light, etc.), you should be able to recover your deductible. Suing in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") to save on legal fess is a good option for recovering deductibles.


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