I was recently in an accident in California where I was rear ended as I was coming to a gentle stop. I was the 5th car in line coming to a stop sign and a drunk driver slammed into my car with his truck. I hit my brakes so I didn't hit the car ahead of me, but the rear end of my car is totaled and my insurance company wants to total out the car.
The drunk driver and I both have AAA auto insurance, the car when bought used was $11k, after wear and tear, and mileage it is now worth about $3.4k and I have about $3300 left on the car loan. This is a problem as if AAA offers me a fair settlement it will barely payoff my car loan and leave me with no money to put onto a new car, leaving me without transportation. My intention was to payoff this car then drive it until it fell apart, now it appears I will be out the $7k I have already paid off on the loan and will be left car-less, and the loser in this claim despite being the victim here.
I do have GAP insurance on the car, this will not however help as the compensation will be equal to the loan remainder anyway, but they will give me $1000 off a new loan which may help.
I was not seriously injured in this wreck, nor was he, and neither of us had any passengers in the vehicle.
My question is, if I accept a settlement from AAA will I have to sign away liability of the drunk driver so I will not be able to sue him? Would I even have a case here to recoup some of the loss in what I have already paid into my car? Is there any way available to me through my insurance to get more than the cash value of the car?
AAA has told me if I accept a settlement on my claim then I cannot sue him through it, but I could still sue or seek compensation through the drunk driver's claim, but this sounds fishy to me. Also they suggested I could try to get more money by claiming dimunition of my car's value, but I don't think this sounds viable as I am trying to recoup the money I have paid onto the car, not a difference in its current value and what I am being potentially compensated for it.
Since we both have AAA I don't trust them as far as I can throw them, they are well aware they will be the only company losing money in this claim and I don't believe they will be willing or eager to part with it. I think they will be more eager to screw me out of anything they can.
so please, help me I don't have money to buy a new car, what can I do?