Making a Property Damage Claim After a Car Accident
After being involved in a car wreck, the experience of dealing with your own insurance provider or the at-fault party’s insurance company can be more than frustrating. Once you have informed them of the accident, you will then need to make arrangements to provide a copy of the final accident report, have the damage to your vehicle (or property inside of your vehicle) assessed and fixed, and also find reliable transportation to help you recover the loss of your own vehicle. Those steps may sound easy but the truth is, they are not always that simple. If you find yourself struggling to understand the process or have questions, it is best to connect with a local car accident attorney to help the process along. Even a free consultation with a lawyer may help you receive the fair compensation you deserve and get you back in the driver’s seat sooner than if dealing with the insurance company on your own.
WATCH Attorney Chris Rhoads discusses the steps Rhoads & Rhoads takes on behalf of its clients to help you with your property damage after a car accident. He also discusses little known secrets the insurance company may not tell you.
Filing a Property Damage Claim
You may be looking to file a property damage claim if your car was damaged in an accident and you want it repaired or to be compensated for the wreckage and loss of your property. Luckily, property damage claims involved with car accidents are a bit easier to prove since the evidence is often easily accessible. Because of this, settlements are usually reached much faster.
The claim process will begin once you connect with the liable party’s insurance company. You may also want to speak with your own insurance company since some policies include language requiring you to inform them of any accident, regardless of fault. Letting your insurance company know of the accident may help you if the other driver is uninsured or denies responsibility, alleging the accident was actually your fault.
It’s important to know that many insurance companies will try to get a settlement agreement with you before you have the opportunity to consult with an attorney. And if the accident caused serious injury or even death, you will need to know all of your options for pursuing damages. Only an experienced legal team can help you with that.
Working With an Auto Shop and Adjuster
You will want to seek out several auto shops and gather estimates to assess and fix the accident damage to your vehicle. A claim adjuster will begin working with you and the auto shop. It is important you know that it is not a claim adjuster’s job to instruct you on which repair shop to hire. The insurance company will only pay what it thinks is the reasonable cost of repair. A vehicle damage claim can typically be guided with a few phone calls and even emails between auto shops and claim adjusters. Most of the communication will not have to be in person.
Once you have received information on the damages to your car, it is time to negotiate a bit to determine if your vehicle is a total loss or it can be repaired. If the repairs exceed a specific percentage of the vehicle value, it is likely your auto insurance company will deem the vehicle a total loss.
If your vehicle is determined to be a total loss, you may need to negotiate again with the insurance company in order to determine the actual cash value of your car and since vehicles depreciate quickly, there are often several different ways to asses and calculate the worth of a damaged vehicle. Estimates seem to vary depending upon how well your vehicle has been maintained.
If you have money left to pay off from an auto loan, the insurance company will not be paying off your auto loan just because your vehicle was in an accident. Insurance will only cover the repair coasts of the vehicle or if deemed a total loss, they will provide a check for the assessed value.
Extra Demands: Rental Vehicles & Original Equipment Manufactured (OEM) Parts
You are entitled to recover for the loss of use of your vehicle through a rental car or reasonable transportation replacement. So if you are setting up your rental vehicle yourself, you will be able to recover that cost until the repairs to the vehicle are completed or until the insurance company issues you a payment for the total loss of the vehicle.
Another demand you can make has to do the quality of the replacement parts and repair work. As mentioned earlier, you get to choose the shop you want to work with. You will want to make sure that the auto shop you decide to work with will be installing the original equipment manufactured parts – these are the same quality and type of parts that were on your car before it was damaged. Don’t settle for a lesser value or different version part and don’t let the claims adjuster authorize anything cheaper or of less value than the original.
Contact a Kentucky Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim
Don’t wait for someone to contact you. Take an immediate, active role in your own car accident claim. Your actions after the accident can help bring a prompt and fair settlement, and get you back in your car as soon as possible.
The car accident lawyers at Rhoads & Rhoads have successfully settled thousands of cases for clients injured in automobile accidents and have also helped them recover compensation for their damaged property. As one of the largest personal injury firms in Western Kentucky, we also are going to have the resources to make sure you are treated fairly. We offer free initial consultations, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. We get paid only if we win or settle your case, so there is NO RISK involved.
Call us at 888-709-9329 or contact us by e-mail to schedule an appointment.
If you’ve suffered property damage from a car wreck – maybe the contents of your vehicle or your car was damaged or totaled – you are due to be compensated for the full value of your vehicle. If the damage is over 70% of the value, it’s a total loss, and the other side’s insurance company is going to have to pay you for the total value of the vehicle.
When we’re representing somebody in a personal injury action, we always handle our client’s property damage claim to make sure they’re treated fairly as part of our representation, without taking any type of fee from the property damage claim.
Also, while you’re out of a car – the insurance company typically will not advise you of this – you are entitled to get a rental car or be paid for the loss of use of your vehicle until you’re back in a vehicle. So when we’re representing a client we make sure they’re taken care of and their transportation needs are squared up before we move forward.