Auto Insurance Claims/Loss of Use


Yesterday I was traveling up a major street (4 lanes) with the speed limit at 45mph.  Without warning some guy came from a side street and drove directly in front of me from a side street. I slammed on the brakes and that is when he looked in my direction, so apparently he was looking the opposite direction when he entered the intersection.  We were too close to avoid a collision so I "T-Boned" him.  Neither of us were hurt but it was obviously his fault for not yielding the right-of-way to me.  I don't know if the police gave the guy a ticket or not; I assume not.  
Since my small truck is a 1997 Nissan with 195000 miles, I'm pretty sure it will be declared totaled. The problem is, the "fair market value" for my truck is listed online as being around $1900.  Take $600 off that for the insurance deductible and that leaves me with a whopping total of $1300 to get another truck.  I am extremely cash strapped now and there is no way I can afford to purchase another vehicle.  This vehicle is my only form of transportation to work so I need a vehicle to drive.  
So my questions are: Are my monetary assumptions correct in that I will probably only get about $1900 compensation?  And, is there anything I can do to get enough money to get a decent vehicle to drive by going through the insurance or do I have to file some sort of law suit and hope for the best.  What is my best course of action here so I can get the most money for what this guy robbed from me by his neglectful driving?

Except for the deductible, which is not applicable if the other guy's insurance pays, you are right in your assumptions.  Although book values are not the best way to determine the value (a professional appraisal is the only way to certify a value), they are commonly used to make settlement offers.  

Since your claim is fairly small in the scope of most claims, you can bet the insurance will just make you an offer and tell you to take it or leave it.  They might offer you some loss of use and taxes, but don't count on much since the vehicle will likely be totaled, as you suspect.  

There's not a huge amount you can do other than nickel and dime the insurance carrier for every penny they owe until you are willing to settle and release the other guy of liability  for causing the accident. Don't forget pro-rated registration, and never take the first offer, make a counter offer and settle somewhere between dreamland and the suspected book-based low-ball initial offer from insurance.  

I hope this helps!

Auto Insurance Claims

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

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State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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