Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

total loss settlement

I am in California and my vehicle was recently declared a total loss. The accident was on 3/14/09. I do not agree with the settlement figure the adjuster has proposed so I sent a counter-offer based on the Kelly Blue Book Value, Edmunds value and Nada Guides value and attached the printouts of this information. Also the evaluation report conducted on vehicles the same as mine (2000 Chevrolet Malibu) regarding what the selling is, was conducted on vehicles more than a 50 mile radius from where my vehicle was garaged. I conducted this same search of vehicles the same as mine within a 50 mile radius and I see that the selling prices are more. Should the adjuster consider the market search that I did which puts the selling price of the car substantially higher which would in turn allow him to reconsider my counter-offer and settle the claim for the higher figure? also, the lienholder or finance company of the car was listed on my insurance policy as a ''loss payee'' so I am told that the settlement check would go to them not me. Shouldn't check come to me so that I can replace the car? I'm a bit confused.

Asked on 4/17/09, 2:02 am

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2 Answers from Attorneys

Brian Dinday Law Offices of Brian R. Dinday

Re: total loss settlement

Well, first of all, congratulations on the way you are handling your claim. You seem to have it well in hand. OF COURSE, they should consider your figures, then negotiate with you. They like to put the lien holder on the check because they fear being liable for settling around the lien if you decided to keep all the money and not pay the lien. No way around that, that I know of. I don't know what the actual value of your car is, but keep in mind your option of suing the responsible driver in Small Claims for up to $7500. Good luck.

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Answered on 4/21/09, 3:39 pm

Arkady Itkin Law Office of Arkady Itkin

Re: total loss settlement


Please remember, the insurance company does not have to pay the blue book value of your car, but only the FMV (fair market value) of your vehicle. It might sound unfair, but the insurance company determines how much it should pay for a car by finding out the average price of a similar vehicle on the market at that time.

Of course, this figure is negotiable to some extent, and you should try to negotiate.

Also, make sure that when you sign the release, it only releases the insurance company from property damages liability and it does not settle your injury claim.

Thank you.

Arkady Itkin

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Answered on 4/21/09, 4:17 pm

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