Has Your Car Been Damaged in an Accident that Was Not Your Fault?
In many car accident cases, property damage to the vehicles involved is significant, and in some cases a car may even be totaled. When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that is not your fault and your vehicle sustains damages, the at-fault driver’s insurance company owes several obligations to you.
- When the car can be repaired. If your vehicle is deemed repairable, the insurance company must cover the costs to fix it and provide you with substitute transportation while your car is in the shop. It is important to understand that you have the right to choose the auto body shop that will perform the repairs. This type of accident claim is a property damage liability claim that will be assessed against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In some instances, the vehicle may need to be towed and/or stored which results in additional property damage-related expenses. These expenses are also the responsibility of the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- When the car cannot be repaired. In some situations, it is not economically feasible to repair a vehicle that has been damaged in a crash. This is commonly referred to as a “total loss.” Insurance companies differ in how they determine whether a vehicle is totaled. Many companies use a 75% rule when labeling a car as a total loss. This generally means that if the damages to your car are equal to or greater than 75 percent of its value, the car will be deemed totaled. In these situations, the at-fault party’s insurance company will be required to pay you the fair market value of your car plus sales tax, storage and towing fees, if applicable, and additional compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle from the date it became disabled up until the time the company pays you for your loss.
How Does the Insurance Company Determine Fair Market Value?
In most instances, the insurance company will not use the Kelley Blue Book value to calculate the fair market value of your car. Rather, most insurance carriers today use a property damage assessment service that will perform market research to determine the value of your car. Unfortunately, these companies work exclusively for the insurance carriers, and, in our opinion, this means that you will need to verify their conclusions. You can easily go to autotrader.com to compare your vehicle with those listed on the site to confirm the value the insurance company should establish. This is a free service and is definitely worth your effort to keep the insurance company honest. If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to call us so we can help you out.
Get Professional Legal Help from a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in car accident where your vehicle has sustained substantial damages, you should discuss your situation with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney. Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. offers free legal consultation to car accident victims. When you schedule an appointment with our firm, we will review your accident claim to determine all legal avenues that may be available to you.