What are my rights to damages if someone backed into my car?

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2014

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 4, 2014Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights to damages if someone backed into my car?

A driver backed into my car and his insurance company said they accepted full responsibility. I had 2 estimates done, one for $2600 the other for $2800. The insurance company sent out an estimator that came up with an $1800 estimate. They then sent me a check for $1800. I haven’t cashed it yet. I told them that I should get $2600; they said $1800 was all I was getting. However, if I take my car to the body shop any cost over $1800 will go directly to the body shop. Is this the way it works?

Asked on June 4, 2014 under Accident Law, Texas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you haven't signed a settlement agreement, you can reject the settlement offer and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault driver.  If you cash the check, you have accepted the settlement offer and won't be able to sue the at-fault driver because a settlement includes a release of your claim against the at-fault party.

You can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court.  Your damages would be the property damage to your vehicle (cost of repairs) and rental car expense while your car is being repaired.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting a rental car with a reasonable rate.  If you were to select the most expensive rental car you could find, your damages will be reduced accordingly because you have failed to mitigate damages.  Your damages should also include court costs (the court filing fee and process server fee).

You are correct that payment for property damage usually goes directly from the insurance company to the auto body shop.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption