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#1 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother was driving our van earlier this month. A guy backed into her. It was clearly his fault and said as much to the police. Turns out he is an uninsured driver.

My van is a 2000 Grand Caravan. It's is GREAT shape. Not even 100k miles. Looks good (except for the rear quarter panel) and has been well maintained. This accident "totals" the van. We're working with the body shop to get the repairs under "total" amount because we do not want to lose this vehicle. I think it likely has another 5 years left in it. If the choice is to not have it repaired (cosmetic, not likely any additional damage) so we can keep it, we will, but where it was hit it's already rusting.

I'm just wondering what recourse we have here. Any ideas? Any ideas about the other driver, who seems to be completely off the hook? I mean, this guy caused $3000+ in damage, but he doesn't seem to have to take responsibility for it. That seems so off to me.
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#2 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Perhaps you can take him to small claims court, if the amount you are going after doesn't exceed the limit for small claims. This is, of course, kind of pointless if this guy is dirt poor and can't pay anyway. But if not, it may be the route to go. It's really cheap to file and neither of you need a lawyer--think Judge Judy but without the theatrics.

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#3 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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My insurance company told me they would "go after" the other guy for the damage. But they didn't seem hopeful. It was around $2500 total. They told me I'd get my deductable back if he paid. Haven't seen it yet. I feel a little better about the fact that he had lots of tickets from it (following too close, no insurance, and suspended license).

They totalled out my car. I hated that car. It was huge and automatic and I took the money and got a 5 speed Kia Rio.

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#4 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This fellow was given no citations for the accident... including not having coverage.
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#5 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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In my state at least, everyone's insurance policy includes coverage against accidents from uninsured drivers. So our insurance would repair our car, and it's up to them to go after the other guy for the repairs. (Incidentally, even if the other guy were insured, you always have the option of getting the repairs paid for by your insurance and then your company talks to the other company to get reimbursed. Lots of people choose this option because it's generally faster and easier, as YOUR insurance company wants to make YOU happy, whereas the other company doesn't have the same incentive.)

Basically, the other guy may be "off the hook" for th repairs only because it's not worth it to the insurance company to go after him. But he'll likely lose his license at the very least.

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#6 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In my state at least, everyone's insurance policy includes coverage against accidents from uninsured drivers. So our insurance would repair our car, and it's up to them to go after the other guy for the repairs.
Except for our deductible.

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Basically, the other guy may be "off the hook" for th repairs only because it's not worth it to the insurance company to go after him. But he'll likely lose his license at the very least.
When I talked to the police today they said that they could give him a ticket, but they don't really do that because it's not worth the trouble. I told them that I wanted to him at least get a ticket, so they told me to leave a voice mail message for the supervisor. Which I did.
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#7 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 07:18 PM
 
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unfortunately we have been in this situation TWICE because of uninsured motorists Document everything, keep a folder with everything from this accident in it and keep it at least 3 yrs.

1. deductible: you can sue them in small claims court for your portion and any incidentals not covered by your insurance (rental car, gas to and from repair shop)

2. If you have your insurance company pay under the totaled amt you can sue them the remaining portion and then fix your vehicle. I would suggest you aske the repair people what is the maximum they can do with that $$ possible but still keep you under.

3. you can fight the value they assess on your vehicle. Remember your insuracne compnay dosent necessarily want to give you $$. However if you can prove that a comparable car (make/model) is going for a higher price you have more leeway there. Any installed add ons or things you have done to improve the vehicle can be use. I believe the catch is they have to be specific to the car like satelite navigation not just stuff you had in the car.

now even though you sue that dosent magically get you your money. However depending on your state you could garnish their wages due to a legal court order.

as for the insurance company. In our state you can lose your license if you owe an insurance company money due to an accident and not pay them back. Our insurance company notified the state and they lost thier license plus its marked on their driving record and its horrible to get insurance coverage later (however she didnt have it to begin with) but yep they sued her non insured arse and won.
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#8 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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We also had a similar situation and lost out on our deductable. I went so far as to show up in court (my insurance co sued company that owned waste truck that had debris fly out of truck and onto my car, and several other cars - and was uninsured) to testify - and they were a no show. We lost out on our $300 deductable. I really thought I'd see it someday but finally gave up. Major bummer.

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#9 of 21 Old 01-21-2010, 10:55 PM
 
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Our uninsured motorist coverage doesn't have a deductible. Not sure if this is a State Farm thing or a California thing, but we had everything covered 100% by our insurance company when DH was rear-ended by a student from Brazil without auto insurance. Our insurance company handled all the legal stuff, but we got full choice on the car repairs. It was a nuisance for sure due to the time it takes away from work, family, etc, but it was at least handled in the best possible manner. I don't recall what happened to the student, but the police rarely come out for accidents around here (only if injuries exist and typically only severe injuries). The drivers are expected to exchange insurance information and carry on.....

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#10 of 21 Old 01-22-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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My i-laws were in this situation. They sued, and it wasn't pretty. But, it was the other motorist,s choice to get on the road w/out coverage, not theirs. I think they eventually recovered some expenses.
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#11 of 21 Old 01-22-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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I have a feeling you won't see any of the money unfortunately. I have been on both sides of the situation. When I was much younger and stupid I totaled a woman's car and I didn't have insurance. She took me to court but for some reason they threw it out and nothing happened to me, no tickets, no points on my license, it didn't affect my insurance when I did get it. Looking back that doesn't seem fair at all.
Not too long ago we were hit by a woman who didn't have insurance. She freaked out, told us to call our insurance and then took off. The damage wasn't enough to even call about so we just let it go.
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#12 of 21 Old 01-22-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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is there a reason not to total out the car and take the money and get it fixed? if you aren't planning on selling it i don't think a totaled title is an issue?

i could be wrong of course.

and, embarassingly enough, i was an uninsured driver and i pulled in front of someone and she hit me. i did get a ticket and a suspended license (i'm really surprised they didn't do this?!?) but her insurance company never contacted me at all regarding payments. s i don't really know why?

eh. who needs a signature?
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#13 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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is there a reason not to total out the car and take the money and get it fixed? if you aren't planning on selling it i don't think a totaled title is an issue?

i could be wrong of course.

and, embarassingly enough, i was an uninsured driver and i pulled in front of someone and she hit me. i did get a ticket and a suspended license (i'm really surprised they didn't do this?!?) but her insurance company never contacted me at all regarding payments. s i don't really know why?
If they total my van, then they TAKE the van. You don't get the money AND get to keep the vehicle! It's 10 years old, but is pristine. (Except for the big scar caused by the irresponsible uninsured driver!!) It has less than 100K miles on it. It will run for another 5 years, probably if I take as good care of it as I have done. If it were totaled, I would get $3000 tops and have to add money to that to buy a car that has more miles, less reliability, and unknown faults. Why would I want to total a perfectly good car? That's ridiculous!
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#14 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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isn't this why one would have uninsured drivers insurance on your policy? sh*t happens. also whether it was an uninsured driver or not you would be in the same predicament, correct? you could sue him for the deductable of course.

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#15 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by rainbowmoon View Post
isn't this why one would have uninsured drivers insurance on your policy? sh*t happens. also whether it was an uninsured driver or not you would be in the same predicament, correct? you could sue him for the deductable of course.
And it looks like that's what we'll have to do... sue for the deductible. However, from the sound of things I'm hearing here, we might still be out of luck.
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#16 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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my mom had a car totalled after a drunk hit-and-run driver damaged the side. she got insurance to pay her the "total" value of the car minus what they would get for the car if it was scrapped. And she kept the car.

nak
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#17 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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And it looks like that's what we'll have to do... sue for the deductible. However, from the sound of things I'm hearing here, we might still be out of luck.
Why? It seems like any judge would side in your favor. I'd try.

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#18 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why? It seems like any judge would side in your favor. I'd try.
Well, we currently have a judgment against a fellow from 3 years ago that took our deposit on a construction job and skipped town. Great... the judge sided in our favor. The guy owes us now. But he doesn't work, can't be found, and probably doesn't have money anyway. Oh, and we're 12th in line for judgments against him.

Winning a case doesn't mean you get your money, unfortunately. If the guy is not insured, he's probably flying as far under the radar as possible and won't pay even if the courts tell him to.
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#19 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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my mom had a car totalled after a drunk hit-and-run driver damaged the side. she got insurance to pay her the "total" value of the car minus what they would get for the car if it was scrapped. And she kept the car.

nak
I always thought you can buy back your own totalled car from your insurance company. I know my dad did something similar to what SleeplessMommy described (except no drunk driver involved, but black ice with two insured drivers) I clearly remember my dad on the phone with some insurance person negotiating the "salvage price" of the car. I think I would buy it back, drop the comp and collision, and then just drive it in is current condition until it useful life was used up. (I am a person that doesn't get to hung up on the asthetics of vehicles )

The whole uninsured driver part stinks, is unfair, and I know would be annoying to me as well. But in the long run I just don't think I'd be willing to devote the time and emotional energy necessary to do anything about it.
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#20 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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Why is it that irresponsible people can get away with things such as bumping into some one car and not paying a dime to fix it. They should have a law against uninsured people. As someone said you can take him to small claims court I do not know how successful you will be in getting back the complete cost for the repairs done to your vehicle.
Best of Luck though

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#21 of 21 Old 01-23-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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I always thought you can buy back your own totalled car from your insurance company. I know my dad did something similar to what SleeplessMommy described (except no drunk driver involved, but black ice with two insured drivers) I clearly remember my dad on the phone with some insurance person negotiating the "salvage price" of the car. I think I would buy it back, drop the comp and collision, and then just drive it in is current condition until it useful life was used up. (I am a person that doesn't get to hung up on the asthetics of vehicles )

The whole uninsured driver part stinks, is unfair, and I know would be annoying to me as well. But in the long run I just don't think I'd be willing to devote the time and emotional energy necessary to do anything about it.
My mom's 11 year old Crown Vic was totaled a few years ago. She was in a construction area, and the guy behind her rear ended her, and then she rear ended the car in front of her from the impact. Both airbags deployed, there were some slight scrapes on the rear bumper, a front headlight was smashed in a bit, the front grill was smashed, and the hood was dented. It was still drivable. Had the airbags not gone off, the scrapes and dents would have just been cosmetic. (The light would probably had to have been fixed to be legal.) However, since the airbags both deployed, that's a few thousand dollar fix, so the car was totaled. She got about $2,600 plus was able to keep the car. The insurance company gave her "retail" blue book value for her car. (I think it was somewhere between KBB's and NADA's or Edmund's value.) My uncle was the one who negotiated with the insurance company to let her keep the car plus get the money.
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