Suing the at-fault driver for remaining payment of car.?

I was in a car accident 2 weeks ago, not at fault. My car was listed as totaled by my insurance company. I was still paying on the car when this happened. My insurance paid far less than what was still owed on the car. I'm being told by the bank where the car was financed, that I'm on the hook for $7,300; the amount remaining. If I took this to a lawyer, do I have a case to sue the at-fault driver for the amount?

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  • Erik
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, you can only get the value of the car at the time of the accident.  How much you owed on it is irrelevant.  That's why you need insurance that covers the extra.

    The real question is why the insurance company offered you so much less than the car is worth.  Unless you overpaid for it.  Maybe a lawyer can help you with that.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    You won't win on this.   The at-fault driver is only responsible for the actual cash value of the vehicle. 

    He's not responsible for you over-financing, or a fast-depreciating car, or negative equity rolled into the loan, or anything else.   

    If you have "stop gap" coverage on either your car insurance policy or your loan, it may cover some or all of the gap, depending on exactly what the $7300 consists of. 

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  • g
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The insurance company is only liable for the fair current market value of your car, nothing more.  What you still owe on your loan is irrelevant to what they are obligated to pay.

    Would a lawyer be able to garnish the remaining amount?  Very unlikely.  Plus, lawyers don't work for free.  

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  • 1 month ago

    Call one of those lawyers you see advertising on TV who will give you a free consultation.  They won't take your case if they don't think they can get at least their fees and some $ for you. 

    As others have said, you CAN sue anyone for any reason if you can get (or pay for) a lawyer to take the case.

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  • May
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    NO.  You have no case. A lawyer would laugh you out of his office. The judge in a lawsuit would laugh you out of the courtroom.    It is not the responsibility of the insurance company to pay off the balance of your loan.  The simple fact is:  You paid too much for your car.  It is the insurance company's  responsibility to pay you "fair market value" for your totaled car.   It sounds as if they have done that.  It is not their fault that you owed more that the car was worth.  That is YOUR fault. 

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  • 1 month ago

    No.

    1. Unless you have "GAP" insurance, the total that gets paid by the at-fault driver and the insurance companies is limited to the amount that the car was worth. They are not allowed to pay off the rest of the loan, because that would create too much of a temptation for drivers who couldn't afford to pay their car loans to stage accidents in order to be able to get someone else to pay. (GAP insurance is an exception to this, but if you had GAP insurance, then you'd only be on the hook for your deductible, so clearly you don't.)

    2. Even if the at-fault driver paid, you would still have to pay. Any money paid by the at-fault driver would go to your insurance t reimburse them for what they paid. You would not get a penny unless the at-fault driver paid more than your insurance company had paid. And since the insurance company paid the value of the car minus the deductible, and the at-fault driver wouldn't be required to pay more than the value of the car, the most you'd potentially be getting out of this is the deductible.

    3. If there was a case against the at-fault driver, then your insurance company (which already has lawyers and wouldn't need to go to one) would be getting the at-fault driver to pay, or suing the at-fault driver, because they have a lot more to gain from a lawsuit than you do, and because they already have lawyers.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The car must have had higher mileage to depreciate that quickly. If you put alot of miles on your vehicle why didn't you buy gap insurance?

    • A Hunch
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      It's likely not the car, but the person who bought it.  Maybe they rolled outstanding balance from another loan, high interest, low downpayment, and a long term loan will all credit a negative equity for a long time. 

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  • Scott
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    That's on you. You are not entitled to receive more than your car's actual value. That may not cover what you still owe. This is why they sell gap insurance. You should have put more money down up front or negotiated a better deal when you bought the car.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Nope. Don't think you can do that (and win).  Insurance companies tend to write off cars once the air bag is deployed. I am not insurance.  I believe your insurance goes after his insurance and they pay the VALUE OF THE CAR TODAY.   Not when you bought it.  So it is ALWAYS going to be LESS.  You will be fighting insurance companies as the other driver was insured.  So that driver leaves it up to the insurance that covers him.  He is not in the picture. You chances of getting it from the at fault driver is slim to nil....see his lawyer.

    Y.A. is not a Lawyer site.  Those guys want money for any advice.

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  • 1 month ago

    In the U.S. today, you can sue anybody for anything. But the chances of your winning are not guaranteed. 

    For reasons you have not explained, you were "upside down" on your car loan, which is not the fault of the at-fault driver nor the responsibility of the insurance company. 

    Normally, having GAP insurance would take care of this situation. From your comments, it seems you did not have GAP insurance, which means the $7300 is your own responsibility -- to close out the loan that you promised to pay back.

    In my opinion, you have little chance of getting a lawyer to sue (and win) the at-fault party to pay for the $7300 "upside down" deficiency, which would easily be shown to be your own fault -- because you took out a too-long loan, didn't make a good enough down payment, over-paid for the car, etc.  

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    A retainer for a lawyer would be about $5000.   You have to think about that.  In any case, your loan value does not matter.  What matters is the current worth of your vehicle.

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