Total loss from parking lot accident...
I was hit in a parking lot by another driver who did not stop at the indicated spot. I was going straight in the exit lane when she came from a parking lane and hit me. Unfortunately, my car (2002 Lexus es300) is a total loss.
I have been dealing with my insurance company for the accident, and they are offering me very little money for my car. The only injury I had was a sore back. It was only a muscle strain and I did not go to the doctor.
I have been losing sleep over this accident, as we are not in a financial position to purchase a new car and were waiting until the fall to replace it. I spoke with one law firm who said that they would not be interested in the case.
I am wondering if I should get a lawyer and pursue the other driver, and/or if I should deal with their insurance and not mine? I don't have any experience with this. I did call the police and there is an accident report. How do I get compensation for this? Thank you for any information you can provide.
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ANSWER for "Total loss from parking lot accident...":
Jennifer (Collierville, TN):
Tennessee is a 3rd Party Fault State. This means victims of car accidents have the right to look to the negligent driver to pay for car repairs and medical bills resulting from the at-fault driver's negligence.
Third party liability claims differ from "no-fault" first party liability car insurance. With no-fault insurance the victim of a car accident must turn to his or her own own insurance company for compensation for certain losses. With 3rd party liability the victim can seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
Unless the other driver was uninsured or underinsured you should have filed a claim with that driver's insurance company. This presupposes the other driver was at fault for the accident. From the facts you present, this appears to be the case.
While you can continue pursuing a property damage claim with your own insurance company, you have every right to pursue the other driver for the repairs to your car and for any medical bills which may arise as a result of the collision.
You likely exchanged contact and insurance information at the scene of the collision. Contact the other driver's insurance company. Let the company representative know you sustained major damage to your car and that you may have also been injured.
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Tell the insurance company representative you will keep him or her advised as to the status of your treatment. Because it appears obvious their insured was at fault, the insurance company should agree to pay not only for property damage, but for your medical bills and related costs.
Purchase a copy of the police report made at the time of the accident. In the report may be a notation of the circumstances surrounding the collision, including any traffic citations issued to the other driver. If the other driver was ticketed for failing to yield, or other traffic offense, that information will be strong evidence in your claim.
Unfortunately, the matter likely isn't substantial enough for an attorney to agree to represent your on a contingency fee basis. There is just not enough money in the claim for an attorney to make a profit.
You can choose to pay an attorney on an hourly basis. However, from the amount of damages you sustained the amount of legal fees you would end up paying would be prohibitive. But it never hurts to get a free initial consultation.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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