The insurance company has totaled my car and the amount they will pay will not buy me a new car. I can not afford a new car right now. I was not at fault in the accident. Should I sue to recover more damages?

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The insurance company has totaled my car and the amount they will pay will not buy me a new car. I can not afford a new car right now. I was not at fault in the accident. Should I sue to recover more damages?

A lady hit me form behind and damaged my car.

Asked on April 19, 2018 under Accident Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can sue, but might not be able to recover more than you are already getting. When your property or vehicle is destroyed, you are entitled to its then-current fair market (or "blue book") value: that is, your compensation is equal to the value of what was destroyed. If a used car worth, say, $8,000 at the time was totalled, you lost $8,000 of value; that's therefore what you are entitled to. The fact that you may need more money or that the compensation is not enough to buy a new car is irrelevant, since those facts have nothing to do with the vehicle destroyed or the amount of economic value you lost. If you have received the full then-current fair market value for the car, you have received everything to which you are entitled, and suing will not get you anything more. If you received less than the then-current value of your vehicle, you could sue for remaining balance: e.g. say that your car was worth $9,000, but you had a $1,000 deductible and so received $8,000--you could sue for the extra $1,000.


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