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  1. #1
    dreg_02 is offline Junior Member
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    Hit by a drunk driver, car is now totaled, what do?

    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?
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    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, l
    and??

    You currently owe $3300. Why should the at fault driver be responsible to pay that AND purchase an additional vehicle for you? Your damages are what they are and that is all the other driver will ever owe you.

    , now it appears I will be out the $7k I have already paid off
    that's called "depreciation" and that's what happens. You "used" that value by driving 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?
    yes but that is irrelevant. He would only owe you what your actual damages are and that appears to be about $3.4k.

    Also they suggested I could try to get more money by claiming dimunition of my car's value,
    not applicable if your car is totaled.

    but I don't think this sounds viable as I am trying to recoup the money I have paid onto the car,
    the other driver is not responsible for that. It makes no sense what-so-ever to even consider such a claim. Based on that theory, I can go buy a brand new car, drive it until it is worth nothing and if involved in an accident where the other person is at fault, claim my damages are what I paid for the car. That is simply wrong. Your damages are whatever you lost due to the accident and in your case, that is the ~$3.4k the car was worth prior to the accident.

    so please, help me I don't have money to buy a new car, what can I do?
    If you accept the settlement and pay off your loan on this car, then go and borrow ~$3.4k and buy a similar car, you will be in the exact same condition as before the accident just like th accident never happened.
    Last edited by justalayman; 03-16-2011 at 09:11 AM.
  3. #3
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    New or recent model cars are rarely an investment. They depreciate the second you drive them off the lot and you rarely get that back whether you drive the car until it rusts apart or you sell it or have it totalled in a wreck.
    Frequently, if you finance them, they depreciate FASTER than the loan principal is being worked down. Further a good chunk of that money you paid is INTEREST.... i.e., money paid for the luxury of having the car without actually paying for it in full at the time you got it.
  4. #4
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You are entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle in the condition it was in immediately prior to the accident and not a penny more, at least as far as your property damage claim. Diminished value would absolutely not be appropriate here since that refers to a car being worth less AFTER BEING REPAIRED simply due to the accident history. Diminished value is hard to prove anyway but it definitely doesn't apply to you, your car isn't being repaired.

    Cars don't ALWAYS depreciate faster then the loan is paid off, even when you buy new, unless you rolled an old loan over into your new loan, depreciation evens out and should keep pace with your payments after you work of the initial drop when you drive it off the lot. And if you buy used, your car will most likely NOT depreciate faster then you pay it off.
  5. #5
    dreg_02 is offline Junior Member
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    thank you for the um blunt replies, this is what I was thinking, just sucks for me. Bad thing is the DUI will still have his truck which only suffered minor bumper damage, I on the other hand will have to replace mine nice to know that when drunk drivers are insured consequences just do not apply, at least as far as the victim is concerned.

    Anywho again I appreciate the responses. Saves me the difficulty of hiring a lawyer to tell me I have no case lol.
  6. #6
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreg_02 View Post
    thank you for the um blunt replies, this is what I was thinking, just sucks for me. Bad thing is the DUI will still have his truck which only suffered minor bumper damage, I on the other hand will have to replace mine nice to know that when drunk drivers are insured consequences just do not apply, at least as far as the victim is concerned.

    Anywho again I appreciate the responses. Saves me the difficulty of hiring a lawyer to tell me I have no case lol.
    ???
    Insured or uninsured, the consequence are the same (ok, there could be extra penalties for not carrying insurance). In either case, YOU are entitled to the same thing...
  7. #7
    jack153 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreg_02 View Post
    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?
    seriously dont handle it by yourself get a lawyer the driver was drunk.... think about....
  8. #8
    FlyingRon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    Cars don't ALWAYS depreciate faster then the loan is paid off, even when you buy new, unless you rolled an old loan over into your new loan, depreciation evens out and should keep pace with your payments after you work of the initial drop when you drive it off the lot. And if you buy used, your car will most likely NOT depreciate faster then you pay it off.
    Depends on if you put anything down. A 2011 Chevy Cobalt LT goes new (average, not MSRP) for $17,693. Last years model with 12000 miles on it in "good" condition goes for $12,000. A 2009 with 24000 would be $9,600. You'd cross over the "0 equity line" somewhere just before two years if you financed most of the purchase at 5%/48 months.
  9. #9
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack153 View Post
    seriously dont handle it by yourself get a lawyer the driver was drunk.... think about....
    Are you daft? What do you think an attorney could accomplish in a property-damage case such as this that our OP cannot do? In fact, our OP has already received an offer for what he feels is the value of his car...he just doesn't like the fact that he can't get that AND a replacement car out of it.

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