The cost of hiring a lawyer to handle your vehicle damage claim is generally not practical. The cost of direct attorney assistance is too high. Even a lawsuit without a lawyer’s assistance may not be a reasonable option. A lawsuit takes time. When your primary objective is to get your car repaired as quickly as possible, the time required for a lawsuit can be counter-productive. We hope these FAQ’s will aid you in negotiating your vehicle damage claim without having to hire a lawyer. If you have a question, please visit asklawyernc.com and ask us. We will have an answer to you in 24 hours.
- Do I have to wait until my personal injury claim is settled to resolve my vehicle damage claim?
No. Your property damage claim can be handled through the liability adjuster without affecting your personal injury claim. Most property damage claims are handled soon after the accident, whereas your personal injury claim can take months depending on your injuries and treatment.
- Is there any reason for me to delay settling my vehicle damage claim?
Normally no. You have a duty to mitigate damages, thus it is important to minimize your loss. Settling your property damage quickly and efficiently can reduce possible fees such as storage fees and rental car fees. Moreover, the liability carrier is only required to pay for a rental car for a reasonable period of time. Therefore, waiting an unreasonable amount of time could incur charges that you will be responsible for paying.
- Should I use my own collision coverage?
Yes, if the liability carrier is not taking care of the property damage quickly or efficiently, then file with your own insurance company. You will have to pay the deductible, but your insurance company will attempt to recover the damages from the liable driver’s insurance company.
- How does the deductible work?
When you bring your car to a body shop for repairs, the deductible is the amount you will be responsible for paying in addition to the amount your insurance will cover.
- Won’t my rates go up if I use my own insurance coverage?
Normally, insurance companies do not raise an insured’s rates or cancel coverage for making a claim that is not the insured’s fault.
- Can I settle with both my insurance company and the other driver or his insurance company for the same vehicle damage?
No. If your insurance company handles your property damage and another vehicle was liable, then your insurance company has a right of subrogation. This means, they have the right to recover the amount your insurance company paid on your claim from the liable driver’s insurance company.
- What if I don’t have collision coverage?
If you do not have collision coverage, but you were not at fault in causing the accident, then the liability insurance carrier who insures the at fault driver should handle your property damage.
- With whom will I be working?
During the process of resolving your property damage, and upon consent by your attorney, you will deal directly with a property damage adjuster or appraiser from either your or the liable driver’s insurance company.
- Should I give the insurance company a recorded or written statement of the facts of the accident?
No. Before making any statements to an adjuster, you should talk to your attorney. If your attorney approves a statement to the insurance company, he or she will most likely want to be present while the statement is taken. If you do give a statement, request to have a copy of the statement sent to you. If, during the statement, the insurance company asks you questions about your personal injury claim, let them know you are represented by an attorney and would like all correspondences and questions about your personal injury claim to go through your attorney.
- What if the responsible driver is uninsured and I don’t have collision coverage?
Under North Carolina law, you have uninsured property damage for $25,000, unless your insurance agent required you to sign a rejection form. Thus, you could be covered under your automobile policy for uninsured property damage.
*Photo courtesy of adam*b by way of Flickr Creative Commons.