After an accident, should I be placed in the same state as I was before the accident if I’m not at fault and I have to use my own insurance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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After an accident, should I be placed in the same state as I was before the accident if I’m not at fault and I have to use my own insurance?

I was in a car accident and the other driver was at fault but had no insurance. Now my car is being totaled and I was financing it. I have both uninsured motorist and GAP insurance. I also am suffering from neck and shoulder injuries. I feel like the my insurance company is not offering me enough, plus it looks like I may be out of a car.

Asked on December 22, 2016 under Accident Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you had collision insurance, they need to pay the then-current value of the car; if you had GAP insurance, they had to cover or pay the remaining unpaid balance due on the car; and if you had uninsured motorist coverage, they need to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and "pain and suffering" (though this last element is highly subjective and difficult to prove or determine with any certainty), at least up to policy limits. This what you are entitled to, and if the insurer is not paying these things, you could sue them for breach of contract--that is, for not honoring their contractual obligation(s) as to what to pay you (since the insurance policy is a contract). 
However, this still may not make you whole: you are not entitled to compensation for your time or inconvenience, and if the sum of the collission coverage (fair market value) and GAP coverage (balance of financing) is less the cost of a new car, that's still all they have to pay: they don't have to buy you a new car.

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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