Property Damage Claims
While the first consideration of any collision victim is to obtain prompt medical care, the second consideration will likely be resolution of any vehicle damage - either through repair of the vehicle or replacement if the vehicle is a total loss. In general, there are three potential avenues of coverage available for vehicle repair or replacement: property damage liability; collision; or uninsured motorists property damage.
Briefly, property damage liability coverage applies when another driver is clearly to blame for property damages. The at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for the cost of repair or replacement of the vehicle and the cost of expenses associated with alternate transportation while the vehicle is out of service (such as a rental car, bus pass, etc.). If there is a dispute as to who caused the collision or when an insurance company is handling the claim slowly or unfairly, you may be able to obtain coverage under your own insurance policies if it provides collision coverage. Collision coverage will pay for the repair or replacement of the vehicles listed on the policy regardless of fault; however, you will be subject to any applicable deductibles. Uninsured motorist property damage coverage, if provided under the terms of the automobile insurance policy, is available only when it can be shown that the property damage resulted from the negligence of a hit & run or uninsured driver.
Ordinarily, the at-fault driver's insurance company will inspect the damage and prepare an offer to cover the repair or replacement of your vehicle. In many cases, the insurance company will provider you with a written estimate (which is often conservative in estimating repair times and prices of replacement parts). Areas of concern on these estimates includes the use of aftermarket parts that may not meet OEM (original equipment manufacturer) specifications; use of used parts from previously damages vehicles; and re-manufactured parts.
If your vehicle cannot be repaired, the insurance company will make an offer to replace your vehicle for the "fair market value". In theory, their offer should be for the amount that your car would have brought if sold in pre-collision condition. Often, this is less than that you actually paid for the vehicle (or even owe on the vehicle) but it may be more. Most insurance companies utilize a computerized evaluation service to determine what the value is. There may be other factors such as storage and towing charges, salvage issues, payoffs to lien holders, appearance allowances, rental and/or loss of use issues, etc. that affect the handling of your property damage claim.
Before you resolve your property damage claim, talk with the legal team at Travis Legal Offices, LLC for assistance. We can explain the best way to have your car replaced or your total loss adjusted.
Contact Travis Legal Offices, LLC. for a free consultation on how we assist you with all aspects of your personal injury claim.