Getting in a car accident is frightening and stressful. Even if you are not injured, the aftermath of a car accident can have many frustrating repercussions. Perhaps most frustrating of all is when the accident was caused by someone else's negligence but caused damage to YOUR property. In today's blog post, we're answering your questions about making a property damage claim after a car accident.
Where do I begin?
Generally, the first step is to report the incident to your insurance and the other driver's insurance. get in touch with the at-fault driver's insurance company and let them know what happened. They will likely want to make arrangements to have your car looked at. Typically, the other driver will provide them with a copy of the police report, but if they haven't done that yet, you may be able to speed things up by furnishing the copy. You can also ask the other driver's insurance company to provide you with a rental car in the meantime. If they do not arrange the rental, they can still be held responsible for however much (within reason) you spend on a rental.
Note: We always recommend that you start by getting in touch with an attorney, even if it isn't us (but we always give free consultations and you can book online!) Oftentimes, insurance companies assign your claim to a team depending on if you have an attorney or not–we think this shows how the insurance company views claimants and tries to take advantage of them. Many insurance companies also encourage their adjusters to be aggressive and get unrepresented parties to sign a release and settle their claim as soon as possible. In our experience, the insurance companies do not intend to give a claimant fair compensation from the onset. That is why we do what we do–we will battle the insurance companies for you so you can focus on getting better and recovering from your accident.
Please also note that the insurance company generally records their calls and may try to use what you say against you later. For that reason, we, again, strongly recommend consulting with an attorney immediately following the accident or as soon as possible following the accident. Additionally, the insurance company may ask you to make a recorded statement. We generally recommend that you do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company without consulting with an attorney about your specific case. An attorney will begin communicating with the insurance company on your behalf and will help fight the typical insurance B.S. to get you the compensation you deserve.
What is recoverable?
To find out what you can recover, subtract the value of your car immediately after the accident from the value of your car right before the accident. This amount represents your damages.
Additionally, other damages such as reasonable damages for the loss of use of your vehicle and damage to child car seats may be recoverable as well.
What if I don't know how much my car was worth before the accident?
Typically, the car's Blue Book value will be used for these calculations. You can also recover the amount you spend on add-ons like a new stereo.
What if the negligible party's insurance company refuses to pay?
Whether it's because they don't believe that the driver was liable, diminish your injuries and damages, or for some other reason, this is a situation in which you will need your attorney's assistance. Accident attorneys, like the team here at MKH Accident Attorneys, have extensive experience dealing with these matters on behalf of clients.
I'm already working with an attorney, but they're not much help. Can I change attorneys?
Yes! So many attorneys do not pursue these cases diligently enough. Luckily, it is easy to change attorneys. If you're currently represented, or unrepresented, and need help fighting the insurance companies to get the compensation you deserve, please reach out to MKH Accident Attorneys today. We will give your case the care and attention it deserves.
We also invite you to contact us even if you're not sure you have a case or just have some questions — we're happy to point you in the right direction.