ARE PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIMS SETTLED FIRST?
Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2020 at 4:15 pm
The property damage caused by a collision can be extremely disruptive. Car repairs could take days or weeks. If the car is totaled, you need to go through the trouble of trying to find a replacement vehicle that you can afford. Property damage payments for totaled vehicles often are not enough to pay for a comparable replacement vehicle.
Three Things to Know About Property Damage Claims
If you are dealing with a property damage claim, there are a few things that you should know.
1. You can settle your property damage claim without settling your personal injury claim.
Most insurance companies settle property damage claims promptly. In many cases, an insurance adjuster views the vehicle and offers a settlement within a day or two after an accident. You can accept a settlement for the damage to your vehicle without settling your personal injury claim.
However, make sure that you read all documents carefully, including the fine print, to ensure that you do not release any claims other than a vehicle claim. If you have questions, you can discuss the matter with a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento.
2. The insurance company bases the settlement for a totaled vehicle on fair market value.
The insurance company for the at-fault driver pays fair market value if the crash totaled your vehicle. Fair market value is based on numerous factors including, but not limited to:
- The make, model, and year of your vehicle
- Current mileage
- Condition of the vehicle at the time of the wreck
The fair market value can be based on a private sale, trade-in, or loan value. You want to ensure that the fair market value is based on what a dealer would offer the vehicle for sale because that amount is generally the highest value. If your vehicle had special systems or accessories, make sure the settlement includes compensation for those losses.
3. Review the repair estimates closely.
Insurance companies try to save money whenever possible, including using used or aftermarket parts to repair a vehicle after a car accident. Because a repair estimate can be difficult to understand for someone who is not familiar with vehicles, it can be a good idea to have another mechanic review and explain the estimate.
An insurance company has a more difficult time justifying aftermarket or used parts to repair a newer vehicle than an older vehicle. On a newer vehicle, used parts could reduce the value of the vehicle.
In most cases, a wreck reduces the value of a vehicle. You may also be entitled to compensation for the depreciation of your vehicle caused by the accident. It can be beneficial to obtain several estimates for the depreciation from area car dealers and mechanics to ensure the amount offered by the insurance company is fair.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer for Help
In most cases, car accidents result in both property damage and personal injury. It is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck to learn about your legal rights and discuss your options for recovering compensation for all damages. An attorney can offer advice and assistance regarding property and injury claims.
An insurance adjuster is looking out for the insurance company’s best interest. You need someone looking out for your best interests.
Call (916) 999-9000 now to schedule a free consultation with one of our Sacramento car accident lawyers. We can help you hold the reckless or negligent party who caused your car crash liable for the property damage, injuries, and other damages caused by the wreck.