How to Handle the Property Damage in an Auto Accident Case
Lawyers are always talking about the personal injury side of cases and for good reason. The bodily injury aspect of the case is where the rubber really meets the road. That is when you really get compensation for the injuries you sustained. However, there is often an overlooked aspect to an auto accident and that is the property damage aspect.
Obviously the extent of the property damages play a huge role in how the matter is handled. If the car is totaled, that means that an independent assessment has determined that it would cost more to fix the car than what the car is worth. Often times, we see clients getting upset by the property damage portion of their case. Why is that? Several reasons. For one, people have an emotional tie to their vehicle. Two, vehicles depreciate and most people are paying more than what the car is actually worth. In these situations, we find people very upset when the insurance company offers to total a vehicle instead of fixing it based on a neutral value of the car and that value doesn’t even pay off the entire balance of what is owed on the car. While there is some negotiation room on property damage claims, one must understand that the property damage portion of a case is even less subjective than the bodily injury portion of the claim.
Here are some tips to making sure that you handle the property damage portion of your auto accident case with care. First, know the true value of your vehicle. You can find good estimates at www.nada.com or at www.kbb.com. Both sites will give you a good understanding of the true value of your car. Another way to find the value of your vehicle is to look in your local newspaper or other publication to find what cars of the same make, model and mileage are going for in your area. Show this to the insurance company and they usually will go with those figures. Keep in mind you are not going to get what you paid for the vehicle. You are going to get a fair market value, what someone would pay for in the open market if you were selling the car. Thus, the value is less than what you probably expect. A final trick is to get local dealers to give you an estimate for the vehicle. If you do your homework correctly all of these figures should all be within $1000 of each other.
At our firm we do not charge our clients to resolve their property damage claims for them. We do this free of charge as an additional service we provide to them. Setting your expectation at the front of the matter is the best way to ensure that you are getting what is fair and justice in the situation. Is it easy to do or handle? No, but using an attorney who has handled situations like this before is vital to ensuring that justice is served.
I cannot address all aspects of a property damage case here, but I urge you to join the Justice Email Club to get exclusive content, information and free prizes. It’s easy to join just go to www.JusticeLegalGroup.com/blog and join. If you have questions or need help settling your property damage claim please email us at email@example.com or call us at 505-880-8737
To your success,
David A. Standridge