Handling Your Own Property Damage Claim After an Auto Accident
The property damage claims process is typically much easier to navigate than the personal injury process is. In the vast majority of cases, these claims can be handled without an attorney.To initiate a claim, you can call either your insurance company or the other driver’s. Most companies have a preferred body shop available to repair your car and some even have on-site rental companies to ease the process. When the body shop is done repairing your car, you will only have to pay the deductible (and the fees for any rentals not covered by your insurance company). The deductible will be returned to you if, and when, the other driver’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident.
If the cost to repair your car exceeds the current value of your car, the car will be deemed totaled. In this case, the insurance company will write you a check for the NADA value of your car. You will likely be disappointed in this figure, however. By statute in Virginia, an auto insurance company is only obligated to pay you the NADA Black Book value of the car – which is typically a good deal lower the the Blue Book value or the value at which you can actually purchase a replacement vehicle.
While this portion of your claim is usually straight-forward, there are times when you will want to get your lawyer involved. If the insurance company asks you to give a recorded statement, you should consult your lawyer before doing so. David L. Marks is an experienced Fairfax auto accident attorney.