This is a tough matter. The law in Arizona is not clear here.
Under the current state of Arizona law, the at-fault driver is required to pay the “fair market value” when your car is totaled in an accident.
But, what if you owe more?
Do you end up in the hole because of an accident you did not cause?
The defense will argue that your financial position has not hanged—you were in a hole before the crash, and you are in the same hole now.
Your lawyer will argue that may be true, but at least you had your car to drive---now you have nothing, and you cannot go get one because you still owe on the last one.
Imagine this: You buy a new car and on your way home, another driver hits you and totals the car.
It is well know that the value you paid for the new car when you bought it was not the same 1 hour later when you left the lot.
Technically, it is no longer “new”, so the value has decreased.
Could you really end up in the hole here? ??
One hour ago it was worth X. I drove it 5 miles before I was hit> Can it really be worth less then X within 5 minutes?
This case seems a bit clearer that being otherwise upside down on a car you have owned for awhile, but really, the circumstance is the same. If the other driver is at fault, the other driver should pay
Arizona law is just not real clear here yet.