Car Accident Property Damage Claims in Monongalia County
After an auto accident in Monongalia County that results in damage to your vehicle, you might be unsure of what to do next. The first thing you should know about car accident property damage claims in Monongalia County is that the at-fault driver’s insurance may be held responsible for the total loss or repair of your vehicle. If the at-fault insurer denies your claim or is making it difficult to settle, you may also contact your insurer to file a claim under your collision coverage.
Furthermore, if you require assistance navigating the process of filing an injury claim after a crash, do not hesitate to contact a Monongalia lawyer for assistance. A seasoned car accident attorney could help you carefully review any documentation sent by the insurance company and provide additional guidance regarding your right to compensation.
Requesting a Rental Vehicle
In the event someone’s vehicle is rendered disabled or is simply unsafe to operate on the roadways, the individual may request that the other driver’s insurance company furnish a rental car to use for the duration of repairs. The claimant would be responsible for gas and mileage, but the insurance company would cover the daily rental costs.
Most carriers have agreements with rental companies that would make a rental vehicle available to the claimant at a fairly modest cost to be covered by the at-fault insurer. However, some carriers may refuse to honor a claim until its insured calls in and reports the claim. When this happens, the individual may retain a rental vehicle, then ask about continuing the rental when contacted by the at-fault insurer.
Often, the individual would be told to turn in the rental and instead rent a vehicle from one of the carrier’s contract rental agency partners. However, the other driver’s insurance should cover the initial rental costs until the claimant is provided a lower rate vehicle.
Understanding Total Loss And Repairable Vehicles
When the other driver’s insurance company accepts the victim’s property damage claim after a Monongalia County car wreck, the carrier would either classify the vehicle as a total loss or as repairable.
A car would be a total loss if the cost to repair it is equal to or exceeds 75 percent of its cash valuation or fair market value, before the accident. Likewise, if the costs of repairs are under 75 percent of the cash value of the care prior to the collision, the vehicle would likely be classified as repairable.
Total Loss Claims
When a vehicle is ruled to be a total loss, the other driver’s carrier would pay the fair market value, exclusive of taxes and tags. An adjuster would usually determine a car’s fair market value by its book value. Claimants should request that the fair market value offer be submitted by the adjuster in writing, including the following information:
- The evaluation of the vehicle
- The vehicle estimates
- Any deductions used to calculate the payment total
- All sources used to reach the valuation
When both parties cannot agree upon the first fair market value offer, the adjustment must use the local market value and regional average values of similar cars in further offers. Upon agreeing on the settlement amount, the adjuster would compensate the claimant for the vehicle’s fair market value, and the claimant would sign over the title of the vehicle. In the event the claimant wants to keep the car, they would still receive the fair market value, but minus salvage value costs, which is the value of what the insurer would receive if they sold the vehicle to a salvage yard for its frame and parts.
If the vehicle is not financed, the claimant would be issued a check directly. When the vehicle is financed, the insurer may issue the check to the finance company and have the claimant pay the difference, or make the check payable to both the claimant and finance company. If the check is payable to both the claimant and finance company, the claimant would endorse it to cover the loan and be refunded any difference as vehicle equity. When the check issued does not cover the full amount of the loan, the claimant would be obliged to pay the difference unless they have gap insurance on their personal auto policy.
Repairing a Vehicle
If the vehicle was financed, the finance company may require repairs to be done to prevent their lien interests from being diminished. For vehicles that can be repaired, the insurance adjuster may recommend a particular repair service. However, it is up to the claimant to decide which provider they wish to use.
When a claimant owned their vehicle outright, they would be entitled to receive the entire repair check. Otherwise, the check may be made to both the finance company and claimant, or to the repair shop directly.
Depending on the severity of the vehicle damage incurred, the claimant may also be entitled to the diminished value of their car. Diminished value would compensate for the reduced fair market value of the claimant’s vehicle because of damages inflicted during the accident. A person filing a car crash property damage claim in Monongalia County should speak with a knowledgeable attorney to make a diminished value assessment before agreeing to an adjuster’s offer.
Handling Property Damage Claims After a Car Wreck in Monongalia County
If you sustained physical injuries in a crash, in addition to incurring property damage, be aware that the at-fault party’s insurer cannot force you to settle your injury claim when you settle the property damage claim. It is wise to not sign anything unless you are positive it only pertains to car accident property damage claims in Monongalia County.
Call today to discuss your case and legal options.