Auto accidents can give rise to two types of legal claims: personal injury claims and property damage claims. Oftentimes, a car accident will lead to both of these claims. It is also possible that you may encounter a property claim that is associated with other types of personal injury claims. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have one or both of these claims.
If you are in a car accident that causes damage to your car, it is important to properly allocate fault in order to determine which party’s insurance company you should file the claim through. This may not be obvious at the outset of the case. Make sure you report the accident and any resulting damage to your vehicle as soon as you can.
If the other driver is clearly at fault, then the claim should be filed through their insurance company. That company would then be responsible for the payment of a rental car and repairs to your vehicle. If it is unclear who is at fault, then the property damage claim should be filed with your own insurance company to pay for the repairs. Your insurance company will likely investigate the accident to determine who is at fault.
The insurance company may determine at its discretion whether your car should be repaired or is deemed a “total loss.” A “total loss” is when it would cost more to repair the car than it is worth. If the car is a total loss, you may have to negotiate with the insurance company over the value of your car.
Commonly, the insurance company will try to determine the pre-accident value by consulting the Kelley Blue Book. Although you may reject the number offered by the insurance company, you must present evidence that shows why your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company has offered. The driver who is responsible for the accident is also liable to pay for the towing and storage of the car until it is determined whether it can be repaired or is a “total loss.”
If the car is not found to be a total loss, then you will be able to have the car repaired, and the expenses will be covered by the insurance company. It is important to have the insurance adjuster negotiate the amount of damage to your car with the repair shop. This is the case because the person repairing the car is in the best position to determine what repairs need to be made and how much it will cost.
There are many steps that follow an auto accident, and each should be taken into careful consideration in order to properly file a property damage claim. Having an experienced lawyer by your side through this process can help you make informed decisions about what to do next and can result in a larger settlement or award in your case. Read more.