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Property Damage Claims

Opening a Property Damage Claim in Durham

How to Get Compensation for a Damaged or Totaled Vehicle

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, the chances are high that your vehicle will be damaged as well. While physical injury and/or the inability to work can be both painful and infuriating, losing the freedom to drive due to vehicle damage can be incredibly frustrating in and of itself. Simple trips to the grocery store, driving to work, or even getting to your doctors’ appointments can quickly become an expensive, time-consuming headache.

The first step in taking back control of your life is resolving your transportation issues by opening a property damage claim with the insurance companies. While insurance companies are not known for being speedy, it is important to balance your need for fast service with the need to be compensated adequately for your damaged vehicle—you don’t want to simply accept the first low settlement offered for the sake of getting the repairs done.

If you need help with your property damage claim in Durham, contact Wallace Pierce Law to find out how our car accident attorneys can assist you. Call (919) 887-7892 for a free consultation.

Opening a Property Damage Claim After a Car Accident

After your car accident, you may choose to open a property damage claim with the insurance company. An insurance adjuster from the insurance company will be assigned to handle your claim and, as long as you have not hired a lawyer to handle your property damage on your behalf, this insurance adjuster will be your single point of contact with the insurance company regarding the damage caused to your vehicle. Please be mindful that if you have hired an attorney you should refrain from communicating with anyone from the insurance company.

The insurance adjuster should get in contact with you after the property damage claim has been opened to begin the claims process. Their job will be to ensure that the damage your car sustained in the accident is repaired. If your vehicle cannot be repaired, the adjuster will evaluate the value of your vehicle and you will receive a check from the insurance company for the value of the car.

Estimating the Damage

It is important to have a basic understanding of how the insurance adjuster will evaluate the monetary value and condition of your vehicle after a collision has occurred:

  • Sending an Estimator to Look at Your Vehicle: First, the adjuster will find out where your car is located. Is it at your home? Was it towed anywhere? Then, he or she will likely commission an estimator to go to the location of the vehicle in order to check its condition and make an estimate for potential repairs.
  • Making a Report of Related and Unrelated Damage: The estimator may try to find any markings on the car that appear to be unrelated to the accident and will take note of these. The estimator may also deem the vehicle to be a total loss based on his or her evaluation of the damages. Either way, the adjuster will use this report to make his or her decision about the value of the car.
  • Determining the Value of Your Vehicle: The adjuster then must take the time to determine the value of your vehicle immediately before the accident. This value is important whether your car will be repaired or if it is deemed a total loss. The estimated value is based on the value of comparable vehicles in your geographic area, known as the fair market value or the true market value. This figure is determined by looking at actual sales for the area, adjusted for vehicle-specific information that may affect the value.
  • Looking at Factors That May Reduce Your Vehicle’s Value: The adjuster will also need to know the condition of your vehicle before the collision, based on the estimator’s assessment of old damage on the car that would diminish the value, as well as if anything has had to be repaired on the vehicle in the past. The latter information can be obtained by looking at vehicle repair records at the repair shop you use to service your car. Further, the adjuster will ask for the mileage at the time of the accident, as high mileage indicates low market value. Finally, if the estimator determines that the cost of potential repairs would be close to or higher than the value of the car, then the car will be considered salvage, or a total loss. If the estimator finds that the car is repairable, the adjuster will contact you or the owner of the car to ask where the car should be repaired. Insurance companies often have a list of preferred repair shops that they can offer to you to help make a decision about where to have your vehicle repaired. The goal of these repairs is to bring your car back to its state immediately before the accident occurred. Thus, the insurance company will not pay for any repairs that are unrelated to the accident. If the adjuster deems the car totaled, or a total loss, the insurance company will likely write you a check for the value of your car, essentially “buying” the damaged vehicle from you.

Contact us online or call (919) 887-7892 for a free consultation.

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    Client was a passenger in a vehicle that was driving through an intersection when another vehicle ran a stop sign and t-boned the vehicle our client was in.

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    Elderly client was a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned in an intersection where a driver failed to yield the right of way.