Chicago, IL asked in Car Accidents and Insurance Defense for Illinois

Q: Dear lawyers, I hope this message finds you well. Recently, I had an accident, and a car hit me from behind.

The driver’s car insurance is American Family. Based on the State Police Trooper report as well as the American Family insurance company investigations, the driver behind me was at fault for the accident. Therefore, I was told by the American Family insurance company that they will fully cover all my car’s damages caused by the accident. They asked me to take my car to an automobile repair shop for estimation. They did not ask me to take it to a specific automobile repair shop and gave me the freedom to choose my desired one. The covering for all damages, replacing the parts, and labors were estimated at around $12000; however, my car value in the market is around $1500. It is worth mentioning that the car has not been totaled at all. Would you mind please helping me and giving me advice on what I should do in this case? Will the American Family insurance company forcefully buy my car to make it salvage, although I do not want to sell my car at all? What are your recommendations?

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: By definition, whenever the cost of repair exceeds the fair market value of the vehicle, it is totally demolished. On your facts, your car is worth $1500 and would cost $12,000 to repair, accordingly, your car is totally demolished. You have choices.1.) You can accept $1500 and give the title to American Family; OR 2.) You can accept $1500 and give the title to American Family AND buy it back for the salvage value (but then all you get is a salvage title). If you are injured, you need to hire a personal injury attorney. If you are not injured the above options are the only two that you have concerning the property damage.

When someone is responsible for destroying your property, through negligence, they are never responsible for more than the fair market value of the property that they destroyed. Everyone who was involved in an automobile accident incurs lost time at work and loss of their leisure time either from recovery from injury or from taking the car for repairs. Unfortunately, that inconvenience is not compensable though it may be very expensive and very inconvenient.

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