In addition to injuries you may have suffered in a car accident, you may have lost use of your vehicle. You may need to repair or replace it. Either way, it’s an unanticipated expense and a hassle.
Car insurance is supposed to cover the expense of repairing or replacing a car after a wreck, but it doesn’t always work that way without a fight. If you have been in a car accident in Florida, a Disparti Law Group, P.A., car accident attorney can help see to it that you get the money you need to repair or replace your car after a crash.
If the other driver was at fault in your crash, his or her liability insurance should pay for damages to your car. If the other driver has no insurance or not enough to pay for all of the damages, you should be able to draw on your own uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. If the accident was your fault, you may be able to obtain money from collision coverage if you purchased this policy.
Car insurance should pay for your vehicle’s repair or replacement and provide money to rent a car while yours is out of commission.
But “should” is the key word here.
For one thing, insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They would rather pay as little as possible for a claim. There may also be disagreement as to whether your car is “totaled” and must be replaced, or whether it can be repaired, which is less expensive.
The insurance company will assign an insurance adjustor to determine what the payout to you will be. He or she may instruct you to get one or more repair estimates and base the payout offered to you on the lower or lowest one among them.
The insurance company may direct you to have your car repaired by a specific repair shop (such as the one who put in the lowest bid). In most cases, you’ll need to do this to get a check from the company.
If the repair estimate is too much in comparison with the value of the car, the adjustor will declare it “totaled,” which means it is headed to the junkyard.
Usually, an insurance adjustor will judge a car totaled if the repair cost exceeds 65 to 75 percent of the car’s value. Your wrecked car’s value may be based on the Kelley Blue Book, which is a popular guide, or a quick review of local prices for similar cars, which may come from a Google search. The value may also be derived from a combination of similar sources.
If your car has been totaled, you should receive an insurance payment toward the purchase of a new car. But you should not expect the insurance company to buy you a new car.
You probably know that the value of a new car drops as soon as you drive it off the lot. The value an insurance adjustor places on your car may be fair, but it will certainly not be for more than it is worth. It could easily be for less.
The insurance payment will not take into account any sentimental value your car may have to you. In some cases, if your car is a vintage or classic model, your policy may have provisions that insure it at a certain value.
If you disagree with the amount of money the insurer offers for your totaled car, or if you believe they should pay for repairs, you can dispute the settlement.
Your policy may allow you to demand mediation, which is a non-binding hearing and decision, or arbitration, which results in a binding decision.
But in mediation or arbitration, it is still you against the insurance company, whose representatives do this every day. You will be at a distinct disadvantage if you do not have a lawyer.
At the Disparti Law Group, P.A., we suggest that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car wreck that results in substantial property damage or injury. We understand car insurance and Florida law that affects liability and insurance payments. We can ensure you receive a proper claim settlement.
Contact us today to set up a free meeting to review your accident and claim.