Car Accident Property Damage Claims in Morgantown
If you have been involved in a Morgantown auto accident, it is possible to settle your own vehicle property damage claim through the other driver’s insurance company. However, when settling car accident property damage claims in Morgantown, it is essential to thoroughly review any paperwork or release sent by the insurer for you to sign.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney could provide invaluable advice regarding your rights to compensation following an auto collision. A seasoned lawyer could also assist you in handling insurance claims.
What to Do Right After a Collision
When a driver sustains injuries in an accident caused by a negligent motorist, they should seek medical attention immediately, document their injuries, and contact a qualified attorney immediately to review their potential claim and receive guidance regarding the next best steps. If the victim incurs property damage as well, they should also do the following as soon as possible:
- Contact the other driver’s car insurance company by phone (the name of the insurer may be on the exchange form or accident reported provided by police)
- Follow up with a written notice of claim, including the time and place of the crash with a vehicle description
Then, the claimant can expect a written acceptance or denial of their claim in response. If the insurance company refuses to consider the individual’s claim or causes issues during the property damage settlement stage, the claimant may consider going through their insurer to file a collision insurance claim.
The claimant’s insurance company would then pursue reimbursement for the costs of repairing or replacing the car, along with the value of the deductible, from the at-fault insurer.
Total Loss Claims
When someone files a property damage claim after a Morgantown wreck, and the claim is accepted, the vehicle may be assessed as a total loss if the repair costs would exceed the car’s fair market value. The insurance company would pay the fair market value amount, not counting any tags or taxes. Fair market value is typically assessed by a car’s book value.
The adjuster should include the vehicle estimates, evaluation, any deductions, and all sources used to determine the fair market value in a written offer submitted to the claimant. If it is not possible to achieve an agreement on the first offer, any further settlement offers should include both the local market value and regional average values for the vehicle in question.
Once a property damage settlement agreement is reached, the adjuster issues a check and the claimant signs over the vehicle title. If the claimant wants to keep the totaled vehicle, they would still be compensated for the fair market value, less any salvage value costs (the value an insurer would receive by selling the car to salvage for parts).
Understanding Financed and Unfinanced Vehicles
In cases where the claimant owned their vehicle outright, the other driver’s insurance company would issue the total loss check directly to them. However, if there was still an outstanding loan on the vehicle at the time of the Morgantown crash, the insurer could issue the property damage check to the finance company, leaving the claimant responsible for paying the difference.
In some instances, the adjuster may issue the check payable to both the individual and the loan company. The individual would then endorse the check to pay off the loan.
Any difference would be refunded as equity in the vehicle. Likewise, if the check amount does not fully cover the loan amount, the individual would pay the remainder (unless they have personal gap insurance to cover the difference).
Claims Involving Repairable Vehicles
A claimant whose vehicle is ruled repairable may decide which repair service they would like to use, although the at-fault driver’s insurance company may offer recommendations. If the individual had financed their vehicle prior to the collision, the repair check could be issued to both the claimant and the loan provider. The check may also be made out directly to the repair shop.
Individuals whose vehicle has sustained significant damage may also claim the diminished value of the car to compensate for its decreased fair market value due to the accident.
Requesting a Rental Car
When the victim’s car is unsafe to drive or disabled, they have the right to request that the other driver’s insurer provide a rental vehicle. The insurer would only be responsible for the daily rental costs, exclusive of mileage and gas expenses.
If the insurer refused to provide a rental until they speak with their insured, the claimant could rent a vehicle then request to continue the rental once they are contacted by the carrier.
Under those circumstances, the insurer may instruct the claimant to return the initial rental vehicle and rent a new one from one of the insurer’s partner rental agencies. The insurer would cover the initial rental fees until the individual is furnished with a more cost-effective rental vehicle.
Morgantown Auto Accident Property Damage Claims
Individuals handling car accident property damage claims in Morgantown should consider consulting with skilled legal counsel to explore their options for financial recovery. A car accident lawyer could be a zealous advocate if you are injured in an auto accident and fight hard to secure compensatory damages for your losses.
Call today to discuss your case and legal options.