What to do if a drunk driver hit my car and totaled it?

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What to do if a drunk driver hit my car and totaled it?

I’m trying to do this without a lawyer so I can get back on the road. I am in pain and have been out of work for 3 weeks. Also, I just got the car (used) 2 weeks ago. How much should I be looking for?

Asked on May 7, 2012 under Personal Injury, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In a situation like this, where a clearly at-fault (i.e. drunk) driver hit your car, injuring you and totalling it, if you sued and won, you could potentially recover:

1) You out of pocket or unreimbursed medical costs (i.e. what has not been paid by health insurance).

2) Lost wages, if any.

3) The then-current, or blue book, value of the car as of when it was totalled. This is not necessarily the same as what you paid for it.

4) The value of other personal property (e.g. a smart phone), if any, destroyed in the accident.

5) Other out of pocket costs directly traceable to the at-fault driver's actions--such as if you had to pay out of pocket to have the totaled vehicle removed.

6) For injuries that cause some signficant impairment of life functions (e.g walking or sitting) and/or the enjoyment of life, some amount for "pain and suffering." This is the most difficult to quantify--for a rough rule of thumb, if you're pain but are not totally disabled and the condition should get better in a few months, an amount equal to your medical costs is reasonable.

If you can settle prior to going to court, you typically get less than the above--you have avoided paying costs, get the money earlier, get a guaranteed win (since the outcome of a trial is never certain) and also provide an incentive to the other side to settle. So if the total of 1) - 6) is more or less what you'd get at trial if you won the case, if you can settle reasonably early in the process, you might take 40% to 50% of that total.

 


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