Was your car damaged by another driver’s negligence? If so, their insurance company should repair your vehicle. In many cases, you will need a lawyer to get fair treatment if you have a personal injury claim, but damage to your vehicle is usually something you can handle yourself. The personal injury attorneys at the Miller Law Group want you to have the facts you need to handle your claim quickly. If the other person’s insurance company is accepting liability, you can usually deal directly with their adjuster to work out that part of your claim. Property damage claims almost always end up with your vehicle being repaired or, sometimes, totaled. We have other articles that deal with what happens for each of those types of claims.
However, there are a few general rules that apply to both types of claims. First, if your vehicle is totaled, the only thing you are entitled to recover is the fair market value. While there is some room to negotiate on that point, having a lawyer can often slow the process rather than speed it up, because the lawyer has to be involved directly in the negotiations. Usually, if you find vehicles comparable to yours in terms of mileage and options, you can come up with a good idea of what it’s worth. (It’s also important to remember that the law does NOT require another person’s insurance to replace your vehicle, only to pay the fair market value IF the vehicle is totaled. See our related article on that.)
Second, if your vehicle has to be repaired, if you find a repair shop you can trust, there’s a good chance you’ll be better off having them bill the insurance company directly, so you don’t have to haggle with the adjuster over specific bills. If that argument needs to happen, let the adjuster argue with the shop, since they are the ones doing the repair anyway. Once again, involving a lawyer in this part of the claim may actually slow it down.
There are some times, such as being hit by a drunk driver, someone who is racing, or a driver who is texting, where you may be entitled to punitive damages. In those cases, you likely WILL need an attorney, because most insurance adjusters do not know the law regarding punitive cases. The experienced trial lawyers at the Miller Law Group are quite familiar with handling punitive damage claims, including those for property damage, so if you have been in a collision under those circumstances, we can probably help with your property damage as well. Our lawyers have handled automobile claims for decades, and can nearly always tell within just a few minutes whether you have a claim where we can help or not. If you have been the victim in any type of collision, with cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, or any other type of injury, contact us for a free consultation. We only want to help you if we think you’ll do better with us, than without us. We’ll give your our honest opinion on your personal injury claims AND your property damage, every time. Plus, if we don’t get you a recovery, there is no fee for our work. We’re the Miller Law Group, and we’ve got your back.