What to do if my new vehicle3 months is considered total loss after an not my fault accident?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if my new vehicle3 months is considered total loss after an not my fault accident?

Someone rear ended me and my car is mostly totaled and I am not sure what happens

Asked on April 13, 2016 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Assuming the car is a total loss, you can recover the then-current value of your car--NOT the purchase price, however; what it was worth at that moment, given depreciation, mileage, etc.--from a combination of your insurer, the at-fault driver, and the at-fault driver's insurer.
First, see what you get from your insurer (assuming you have the relevant insurance; i.e. collision). Then you can sue the at-fault driver (you sue the driver, not their insurer) for any amounts not paid by insurance. In addition to the value of the car, you can also recover costs directly caused by the accident, like car rental for a reasonable period of time while buying a replacement car, to the extent such are not paid by your own insurance.
Example: say that then-current value of your car is $20,000 and you had a $1,000 deductible; say you also incurred $300 of car rental after the accident. If your insurer pays you $19,000 ($20,000 less the deductible), you could sue the at-fault driver the other $1,000 and the $300 of car rent, or for $1,300. If you can prove the other driver was at fault (such as by testimony and/or the police report), you can recover that $1,300 from them (their insurer may pay for them).

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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