If someone hit my car and totaled it while it was parked, can I take the driver to court if their insurer is offering less than what I owe on my car?

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If someone hit my car and totaled it while it was parked, can I take the driver to court if their insurer is offering less than what I owe on my car?

Someone had a suspended license and hit me, he was driving his father’s car. The car was parked and I am going through his father’s insurance. (Guy that hit me is 31 yrs old). His insurance company is offering $13500, only I owe $14500. There is no gap coverage. Can I sue the driver to the difference as well as a deposit for a new car? I would add that day I missed from work and and rental and/or legal fees.

Asked on May 1, 2012 under Accident Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the $13,500 is being offered in settlement of the claim, then you cannot accept the money and still sue him for the balance--when payment is offered to settle a claim, by accepting it, you typically accept it as payment in full. Therefore, you need to check any settlement agreement, correspondence, etc. to see whether this offer is intended to settle the claim in its entirety; if it is, you need to choose between accepting it or suing for the larger amount you believe you are owed. If it is not offered to settle the claim, you should be able to sue for the extra money--but be aware that typically, such offers are offered in settlement of the whole claim.

Also, in terms of damages:

1) You should be able to recover, rental or other out-of-pocket costs resulting from the accident.

2) You could recover lost wages is you actually lost wages (were not paid); however, if you used PTO for the day, you most likely cannot recover, since you will not have had an out-of-pocket loss or cost.

3) You cannot recover lawyer fees when you sue someone (in the vast majority of cases; the few exceptions would not apply)--each party bears its own legal fees.

 


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