Handling the Damage To Your Auto

Our post today covers some considerations in getting your vehicle repaired after a North Carolina auto accident. If you have any questions for our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys, feel free to contact us via the Free Consultation Contact Form to the right, by email at info@kregerthacker.com or by phone at 888-820-5885.

When you are involved in an automobile accident one of the first concerns you will typically have is what will happen to your vehicle. Typically the day of your accident or the day after your accident you will receive a call from the insurance adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company (we always recommend you refuse to give a recorded statement, but you are free to discuss the repair of your vehicle (just assume your conversation is being recorded so avoid discussing details of the accident or your injuries)). If it is clear that the other driver is responsible for your accident, generally the insurance adjuster will offer to pay to repair your vehicle and handle setting up an appointment at a local body shop. If you are not sure how to handle the insurance adjuster or the insurance company, give our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers a call and we’ll give you a few tips.

We don’t generally recommend that you use the repair facility that the insurance company recommends. Rather, we recommend that you contact a local dealership that sells your make of vehicle and ask for the dealership’s recommendations for a body repair facility. Once you get recommendations from the dealership, share the list with the insurance adjuster to see if any of the dealership’s recommendations happen to be on the insurance company’s list of preferred shops. If you find any overlap, feel free to go with the repair facility that is recommended by both the local dealer and insurance company. If there is no overlap, go with the recommendation of the insurance company (the insurance adjuster and insurance company are generally looking out for the best interests of the driver who caused your accident and the insurance company – this generally means limiting the amount you are paid on your claim, which on a vehicle repair may result in a lower quality repair). Call one of our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys if you have questions about choosing a repair facility, ensuring that your vehicle is properly repaired, and being properly compensated for your DOV Claim/Diminution of Value Claim/Diminished Value Claim/Diminishment of Value Claim.

In terms of setting up a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired, you will have a few options. First, many insurance companies will offer to directly pay the rental car company and set you up in a rental (and make the reservation for you). This option can be convenient, as you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Second, you may choose to rent a vehicle with your own money and seek reimbursement from the insurance company later. Lastly, you may choose to not rent a vehicle and to ask the insurance company to pay you for the loss of use of your car (some insurance companies will refuse to pay you if you have not incurred an out-of-pocket expense, but with a little negotiating you can typically get them to change their position). If you are having a difficult time getting your rental expenses paid, our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers are willing to contact the insurance company on your behalf.

If you find that the other insurance company is working slowly or is just difficult or unpleasant to deal with, you should consider calling your own insurance company to make a claim (you should always contact your own insurance company after an accident). Your vehicle will typically be repaired quicker because your insurance company does not have to complete a liability investigation (which typically involves obtaining a copy of a police report, taking recorded statements from witnesses, etc.). Keep in mind that if you have not paid for towing coverage and rental car coverage, you will have to pay for those items out of your own pocket (along with your deductible) and seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.

When the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds a certain percentage (typically 75% in North Carolina) of the value of your car, the insurance company is required to declare your vehicle a total loss. Once your vehicle has been determined to be a total loss, the insurance company will make you an offer to settle your property damage claim (it will offer you a certain value for your car, plus the tax and tag charges that you will incur when you purchase a replacement vehicle). You can negotiate the value of your total loss, and the best way to begin the negotiation is to do some of your own research. Look up values on Edmunds.com, KBB.com (Kelley Blue Book), autotrader.com, cars.com, motors.ebay.com, etc. Find as many comparable vehicles (similar miles, same options, etc.) as possible that have values higher than what the insurance company is offering. Produce your findings to your insurance adjuster and let the insurance adjuster know that you want more money for your total loss or you will seek the advice of an attorney. Also, note that if your vehicle is a total loss, you are entitled to a rental car for the reasonable time that it will take you to replace our totaled vehicle (the insurance company will typically offer 3-5 days, but 1-3 weeks is more consistent with what you are owed).

You do not generally need to hire an attorney to handle your property damage claim unless you feel that you are not being adequately compensated (most often this happens with total loss claims and Diminution of Value/Diminishment of Value/Diminished Value/DOV Claims.
If you have any questions about what repair facility you should choose, how to handle negotiating the value of your total loss or Diminution of Value/Diminishment of Value/Diminished Value/Dov Claim value of your car, or you were injured in the accident, we advise you to contact an attorney (if you are in North Carolina, consider contacting our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys). A personal injury attorney will make certain that you will receive the proper compensation for your property damage claim and also that the settlement of your property damage claim will not affect your personal injury claim. Our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers will handle your property damage claim at no cost to you, and, whether you choose to hire us or not, are happy to answer any questions you may have.