You are in an automobile accident and your car is damaged, maybe even totaled! What are your rights?
First and foremost, you should immediately take photographs of all cars involved in the accident and save them for your attorney. Next, you should call an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury law. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates have over 100 years of combined experience in dealing with all aspects of automobile accident litigation and we have obtained many million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients.
An experienced automobile accident lawyer will review the facts of the accident and tell you who is at fault and whether your policy provides for collision coverage. Collision coverage guarantees payment for your property damage regardless of who is at fault, but generally requires you to pay a deductible.
If liability is in your favor, most times, the other driver’s insurance will pay the property damage and rental car. But the problem is that there may be a delay from the time that the accident occurs and the time that the other insurance company receives notice of the accident, investigates, and accepts fault. Moreover, not all drivers have insurance, and there is always the risk that the other driver is uninsured. For this reason most lawyers recommend that you purchase collision coverage.
If you have collision coverage, you can put the claim through your own company, and let them seek reimbursement from the negligent driver, and during this process still be able to have your car repaired. Generally, the collision coverage carriers will also seek reimbursement for your deductible.
There are a host of issues that can arrive in a collision claim. So know your rights!
First, don’t let an insurance company force you to use their body shop. Many times carriers get discounts and therefore push “participating” repair centers. While these body shops do excellent work, you still have the right to choose your own repairman. Just be sure that you select someone reputable and qualified.
Next, make sure that the body shop has reached an agreement with the insurer for the scope and amount of the repairs. An insurance company is not required to repair pre-existing damage and you will need approval before the repairs start.
After the repairs are done—inspect the work! Make sure all dings caused in the accident are fixed. Make sure the paint matches! Don’t leave without noting on the receipt any substandard repair work!
Another issue that often arises concerns when a car is totaled, and when a car can be fixed. Generally, insurance companies will total a car when the repairs will exceed 75% of the car’s value. For example, if a car is worth $20,000.00, it will not spend more than $15,000.00 to repair the car.
Finally, be prepared to negotiate if the carrier and you disagree. Negotiation is a skill that works best with experience and knowledge. For that reason, an auto accident lawyer is usually in the best position to advise you!
At Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates, all of our car accident consultations are free. So if you are in an auto accident and sustain injuries or damage to your car, call our Philadelphia automobile accident lawyers at 215-567-6600 or contact us online. We look forward to settling your claim!