Can the other party ask for more then the value of their car, if I hit itand wasn’t insured?

UPDATED: Aug 8, 2011

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Can the other party ask for more then the value of their car, if I hit itand wasn’t insured?

I was in an accident and didn’t have insurance at the time (it happened during the in-transit period). The other party got an estimate quote of $3600; they will accept $1800; the vehicle was only valued at $736. Can they ask for more than the value of the vehicle and do I have the right to my own estimate? I have checked with 2 independent insurance companies and they both say I should only have to pay $736.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If a car (or other vehicle) is worth less than the cost to repair it, the at-fault party (see below) is only obligated to pay the value of the vehicle. So if a car is only worth $736, if it was $500 to fix, you'd pay $500; but if it's more than $736 to fix, $736 is the most you should pay. The other party cannot come out ahead by getting more than the car's worth; and if they insist on repairing a junker or old car (e.g. sentimental value), that's their decision--and their cost; they can still only get the actual value of the vehicle.

Note: you only are obligated to pay if you were at fault--e.g. driving too fast, carelessly, blowing through a light or stop sign, drunk, etc.--and you can always force the other party to sue you and prove your fault in court if you do not  agree that you are at fault.

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 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.

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