Most of my posts are about injury claims. Why? Because that is what most people do not understand. Fixing a car is, for the most part, a simple process. You bring the car to a shop of your choice, the estimator writes an estimate, the insurance company agrees on a price, and your car is fixed. Voila! But there are three things you must know about property damage claims.
First, if your car is a total loss, you get fair market value for your car. If your car is a total loss, you are entitled to obtain the fair market value of your car. This is not set by the insurance company. You are entitled to see the vehicles they are looking at to figure out the price! If you cannot figure out what the fair market value is, or how to calculate it, call me. I am happy to explain the process, and you can hire me to do my own calculations for you.
Second, you are entitled to a rental car. When your car is a total loss, they will try to limit the length of time that you get a rental car. They have to pay for one for a reasonable time after the accident. Demand your rental car! Even if your car is repairable, they have to pay for a rental car. If you do not rent a car, they owe you loss of use – what it would have cost you to rent a car if you had chosen to do so.
Third, if you are going through the other person’s insurance company and your car is damaged, they may owe you for diminished value. Diminished value means you could have sold your car for a certain amount prior to the accident, but now you have to sell it for less because of the damage. Very few attorneys will tell you about diminished value. Even fewer will pursue it for you. But there is a claim out there and it could be worth some money.
Just because it is your car does not mean that you do not have rights. Even if you were not injured in the accident, you are entitled to reasonable compensation for your property damage. If you are unsure about what you are entitled to or how to recover for these damages, talk to an attorney who handles property damage claims.