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Question
My question up front is this: Should I file suit against the other driver in an auto accident? Given the details, will it be a valid claim in court? Will I win and get what I ask for?

On December 27, 2014 my son was involved in an auto accident in Clayton County, GA. He was not injured, however the vehicle (I am the owner) was determined to be a total loss by the other parties insurance company (Liberty Mutual).

The following is directly from the Clayton County PD's official accident report.

Driver 1 is the other party.
Driver 2 is my son

Driver 1 stated she was at the intersection of Walt Stephens Rd and Spivey Rd, attempting to turn left onto Spivey Rd at the time of the accident. Driver 1 advised she observed vehicle 2, but thought she had enough room to turn, at which time vehicle 2 collided into her vehicle.

Driver 2 stated he observed vehicle 1 at the intersection, but it appeared she was not going to turn. Driver 2 stated vehicle 1 then turned, at which time his vehicle collided into vehicle 1.

While gathering information from Driver 1, she advised there was an additional passenger in her vehicle, but left the scene with a family member due to her age (4 years old). Driver 1 advised Passenger Jones, Taylor was seated in the right - rear seat. She advised the child was in a properly used car seat.

Driver 1 was cited at the scene of the accident for "Fail to Yield while Turning Left"

My insurance company (USAA) found the other party to be 100% at fault.

The other parties insurance company (Libety Mutual)has made 2 offers to me. The first after a long delay on February 26, 2015. Their offer was for 85% of the vehicles value. This was unacceptable to me since my son did nothing wrong.

The second offer was for 90% of the vehicles value. The agent stated "This is our final offer"

I don't feel like I can go any further with this company and their representatives.

Given the facts of the case I believe she is 100% at fault.

I am asking for the following in my case:

1. 100% of the actual cash value of the vehicle for our area minus the salvage value.
2. Reimbursement for loss of use of our vehicle.
3. Court Cost
4. Attorney fees.

Does this all seem in order? Please advise.

Thank You in advance for your assistance.

Answer
Hi Jeff,

First, let me say that I am not an attorney and cannot provide legal advice. However, based on personal experience I can state the following:

If you file suit you would likely need to sue the at-fault driver not the insurance company. You can ask for court costs and attorney fees but that is generally up to the Judge to award that or not. You will need to have an appraisal of the value of your vehicle to establish it's value so you have a specific amount to ask for in your suit. The judge is not going to determine the value for you. Also you may be able to find an attorney willing to take the case as they usually do not get involved auto physical damage cases. If you do find one it may cost you $2,000.00 up front.

I'm not sure how much your car is worth, but if the 10% the insurance company is trying to save is not significant, you may be better off to accept it.

I hope this helps
Richard Hixenbaugh  

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Richard Hixenbaugh

Expertise

Auto insurance claims procedure, auto coverage, liability issues, auto damage questions, how to deal with the insurance company, loss of use and diminished value.

Experience

I have been involved in the insurance industry for over 25 years. I have experience in underwriting, sales, claims adjusting, auto damage estimating, auto value appraising and diminished value appraising. I have testified as an expert witness over 35 times.

Organizations
Society of Certified Auto Appraisers

Education/Credentials
Completed all required courses for the Florida Property-Casualty agents license and the Florida claims adjusters license. I have attended various courses on auto damage estmating, vehicle appraising and am ASE certified in collision damage analysis.

Past/Present Clients
My company has done work for consumers nationwide.

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