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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 117359
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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On 10-2-16 lady hit from behind 2008 Honda civic. Insurance

Customer Question

On 10-2-16 lady hit from behind 2008 Honda civic. Insurance company took its time to go her house to appraise the damage. They told her to go to rental car co. & they would rent her a car. When she went to car co. she was told she had to pay $50.00 a day in insurance to rent a car. She could not afford it so instead family and friends would drive her to physical therapy, run errands, etc. She had been ordered not to work for 30 days. She had been working for her mother who in turn worked for a man who would assign her to clean houses. The man pays in cash. Mom would pay daughter in cash. Appraiser finally went to house to inspect car and deemed it a total loss. She paid $8,300 for the car and is now offered approx. $4,500. Lady lost her job b/c of accident.
Question: Is there anything she can do about the value they set for the car, the loss of use of the car, and the loss of income?
If she assigns the title over to the insurance co. for the $4,500 will she still have a claim for lost wages and loss of use of the car?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately this is something many people who are in car accidents suffer dealing with. The insurance company has to pay her only the book value of her car at the time of the accident. So, even if she paid $8300 for her car, if the book value is $4500 or $5000 that is all she is entitled to collect for the car. So she needs to look up the book value of her car and if she had any work done on the car in the last 6 months before the accident, such as major mechanical work or new tires, she needs to argue with the insurance to add in those costs as well, but all they legally have to give her is the book value and if they are offering $4500 they may be able to offer her a little more, like $5000 but not much more than that.
She will have to seek to get more money on her injury claim to try to make up for this, which is where the adjuster has more room to negotiate for her pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is generally an amount of money based on the nature of her injury and is generally calculated as an amount of 1x to 3x the total medical expenses and loss of income combined. So for example, if her total medical expenses (including what insurance pays) is $10,000 and she lost $5000 in employment/wages, then the total actual damage is $15,000 and her pain and suffering would be in addition to that amount about $45,000 (based on 3x) so that is where she needs to negotiate with the insurance once her medical treatment is completed not before. Of course, the insurance company is only liable to pay up to the maximum of the insurance policy, so if the maximum of the insurance policy is only $50,000, that is the most they have to pay regardless of her claim and if her claim is more then she has to go after her own insurance if she has uninsured or under insured motorist coverage and if the insurance companies are not offering sufficient money for her injury and pain and suffering she needs to get her own attorney to represent her.
Property damage claim, for the vehicle, is separate from her injury and she needs to make sure that when she settles the property claim on the car it does NOT include her medical and pain and suffering so she needs to read that part of the settlement carefully to make sure it says for property damage only and that the medical injury claim is still open and not settled yet.
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