What can I do if my car was not deemed a total loss but it should have been?
Question Details: About 2 months ago, I was driving to work and a lady backed out of her driveway right into my passenger front tire area, bending the knuckle assembly on my 12 year old car. Their insurance company took full liability seeing how it was her fault. It is 2 months later but my car is still not fixed. The first shop we took it to submitted an estimate that was denied by the insurance adjuster. Instead he came up with his own estimate using just pictures of my car and issued a check without even talking to me about it. I then had to remove my car from the first mechanic's property cause him and the adjuster didn't get along nor agree on anything. So I found a second shop who replaced the right hand control arm and knuckle assembly with junkyard parts like the insurance insisted on. Then had to take it to another shop to have the alignment done, which is where we found out that apparently if you replace one side you have to replace the other side so they match. Long story short, they wouldn't do the alignment and said the same thing our first mechanic said, "It should have been deemed a total loss". Should I seek out an attorney? I've missed several days of work and am very stressed out dealing with all this. I'm at a loss.
You can't force the insurer to deem the car a total loss. They have the right to pay for its repair instead, if they choose to. "Totalling" a car is the insurer's choice, if they deem that is cheaper to pay out its then-current fair market or "blue book" value rather than pay to repair.
But they do have to do a full and complete repair. IF this repair does require replacing both sides, then that is what they should have paid for. You could sue them for the cost to complete the repair, on the grounds that they did not honor their contractual obligation (the insurance policy is a contract) to fully repair your car. In the lawsuit, you'd need expert testimony, such as from mechanics who examined your car, as to what repairs were required, and you'd have to pay them for their time to appear and testify, so you need to factor that cost into whether suing for the extra money is cost effective.