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Complaint 16 of 24 in "Offering Too Little Money"
Insurance Carrier: State Farm And Liberty Mutal
Accident hit from behind on 7/11/2008. Filed claim with State Farm ins. who initially stated vehicle was totaled and would do payoff for $17,000. They requested the payoff, asked for the rental car to be returned and we termed the tag. Lawyer asked our ins. carrier to do an estimate because payoff was $22,000 and they did not total. We then asked to fix and was told it was 1/2 done but it was not. We then were told the offer from State Farm was never removed. Now we are told the finance company is requesting the vehicle back because of non-payment. We were the victim and cannot get resolution. I called today and was told by my carrier that they issued a check for repair on the 22nd. We do not know what to do. Why is my carrier having to pay and not State Farm? My lawyer is now saying to file a lawsuit she will need more money. Why? I really need help.
Insurance Expert Answer:
This does not sound right. First, if there was any personal injury, most lawyers work on those matters PLUS any related property damage issues (as otherwise the case gets fouled up) on a contingency basis, without charging any fees upfront (although in some states and cases they do expect such costs as filing fees, record searches, etc. to be advanced).
Second the value of many cars and SUVs has fallen below the amount people owe the lender. The lender wants to be paid and has the right to be paid -- whether or not the insurance is adequate.
Third, it usually makes sense (to save hassle, normally get better treatment and avoid prejudicing your personal injury case, and avoid claims that you were partially at fault) to have your own company initially handle the collision claim (assuming there is collision coverage, and there normally is with a financed car). While you initially absorb the deductible, when your company goes after the other driver's company, it reimburses most if not all the deductible if the other driver was at fault. Once the issue is total or repair, and especially when repairs start, the issues are so fact dependent we cannot make useful suggestions.