What to do if I was in an auto accident that was not my fault and my car was totaled?

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What to do if I was in an auto accident that was not my fault and my car was totaled?

The woman’s insurance company is claiming that they only have to offer whole sale price to replace my car. I said that I was not a dealer and could not get a car for whole sale prices. They stated that was not their problem. Are they allowed to get away with only paying whole sale or do they owe me retail?

Asked on June 21, 2013 under Accident Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What you are entitled to if someone else is at fault in totalling your car is the car's then-current fair market, or "blue book," value, which is undoubtedly much less than the current cost to replace the car; that is because when someone destroys your property, their obligation is to pay its value, not to buy you a new one. Since cars depreciate fast, blue book value is always less than the cost to buy one from a dealer. If the current blue book value is close to what they are offering, you should take the offer, since the alternative is to sue the at-fault driver, to get the difference between what you are offered and the fair market value, and it's almost certainly not worth it to spend the time and money on a lawsuit for that.


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