If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, you have two options. You can bring a property damage claim against the potential defendant that will be paid from his or her Property Damage Coverage, or you can bring a property damage claim under your own automobile insurance policy that will be paid from your Collision Coverage. If you bring a property damage claim under your own automobile insurance policy, you will have to pay the deductible, which can range from $100 to $1,000. The deductible will be listed under your Collision Coverage.
Although the William Schneikart Law Firm does not represent you in your claim for property damage, you can take the following steps to ensure you get what you deserve.
1. Call the insurance company to report the property damage claim. Do not discuss your injuries or how the accident happened with any representative from any insurance company. Tell the representative that you will send him or her a copy of the accident report. But do not give anyone a statement about the accident. You will be given the name of an adjuster and a claim number, which you should note for future reference.
2. Obtain at least two written estimates from reputable auto body shops of the cost to repair the damage to your vehicle.
3. Send a copy of these written estimates to the insurance adjuster.
4. Find out from the insurance adjuster whether vehicle towing and storage expenses are covered.
5. If you decide to file a claim under the Collision Coverage portion of your policy, you need to find out from the insurance adjuster whether you have a rental vehicle provision under your policy. If you do not, the potential defendant's insurance company ought to pay or reimburse you for the rental vehicle expense. If you decide to file a property damage claim under the potential defendant's automobile insurance policy, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the "loss of use" of your vehicle, which for most insurance companies equals $15 per day. You need to make sure that the defendant's insurance company will agree to pay or reimburse you for the rental vehicle expense.
6. If the expenses mentioned in 4 or 5 are covered under either policy, you need to send copies of these bills to the appropriate insurance company for payment.
7. Let the insurance adjuster know where you intend to have your vehicle repaired, if it is repairable.
8. If the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds 80% of its fair market value, the insurance company will probably declare your car totaled. If your car has been totaled, negotiate with the insurance adjuster to agree upon a reasonable sum of money that you should be paid for your car. You are entitled to the retail value as well as sales tax, loss of use and / or a rental car and transfer tag, license and title.