Being in a motor vehicle accident is a traumatic life event, even if the damage is minor. For car accident victims, dealing with adjusters, mechanics, doctors, and others involved in a car accident claim can be overwhelming. For many, hiring a Bloomington car accident lawyer is the first step in relieving some of the stress associated with a car accident claim so they can focus on their health and their recovery. Even if a person is not seriously injured, dealing with the other person’s insurance company regarding repairs can be difficult. Our Bloomington car accident lawyer can help with both your property damage claim and your bodily injury claim.
What Is a Property Damage Claim?
When you are in a collision, you are entitled to file a property damage claim for the damage to your vehicle. Many accident victims may not realize that a property damage claim also includes damage to any personal property in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Insurance adjusters do not always explain this fact; therefore, it is usually in your best interest to consult with a Bloomington car accident lawyer before settling a property damage claim to ensure you are receiving full compensation for your losses.
Calculating a property damage claim can be difficult. The insurance company wants to pay the least amount possible to settle your property damage claim. The desire to minimize the cost to the insurance company is the main reason we discuss a total loss versus repair cost. The insurance company will take the option that is the least expensive for the insurance company. Unfortunately, you may not be able to prevent the insurance company from declaring your vehicle a total loss, but you can take steps to ensure you receive the full value of your vehicle if the company does declare it a total loss.
What Does It Mean To Declare A Vehicle A Total Loss?
An insurance company uses several factors to calculate the value of a vehicle including:
- The make, model, and year of your vehicle
- The mileage at the time of the collision
- The condition of your vehicle at the time of the collision
- Any optional features such as leather seats, sunroof, AEB systems, power locks, remote keyless entry, remote start, etc.
Most insurance companies use industry standards such as Kelley Blue Book (KBB) or the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) to determine the value of your vehicle. KBB and NADA provide the value of vehicles based on factors like the ones listed above.
When a vehicle is damaged in a traffic accident, the insurance company for the other driver looks at the fair market value of the vehicle versus the cost to repair the vehicle. If the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds a specific percentage of the value of the vehicle, the insurance company will declare the vehicle to be a total loss. Instead of paying to repair the vehicle, the insurance company will pay the fair market value of the vehicle. In Indiana, state law requires that the cost to repair a vehicle exceed the fair market value of the vehicle by 70 percent before a salvage title may be issued for the vehicle.
What If The Insurance Company Is Offering A Low Amount To Total My Car?
If you believe the insurance company is offering an amount that is below the fair market value of your vehicle, you have a few options. You can obtain written estimates from several car dealers to prove the market value of the vehicle is greater than what is being offered by the insurance company. However, the insurance company may drag out the negotiation knowing you need a new car and the longer it waits, the more likely you will be to accept the lower amount.
Rather than deal with the insurance company directly, you can contact our Bloomington car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. We have extensive experience dealing with property damage claims. Furthermore, if you are physically injured and the insurance company is already trying to minimize your property damage claim, you will likely need a Bloomington car accident lawyer to protect your right to receive full compensation for your bodily injury claim.
Call A Bloomington Car Accident Lawyer For Help
Contact our office now to schedule a free legal consultation.