My Car’s A Wreck: Now What?

One of the most important reasons to contact an experienced accident attorney right after the auto accident is to help you streamline getting your car repaired or getting financial reimbursement for your property damage.

Oftentimes, despite the fact that you think the other guy was at fault for the accident, his/her insurance company will refuse to accept liability for the accident pending a long drawn out review of police reports, witness statements and recorded party statements.

This is one major reason to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after the accident.

When you contact an accident attorney, please have your insurance declaration page in front of you since the attorney will ask you if you have collision coverage. Should you have collision coverage, if the third party is disputing liability, the attorney can enter into negotiations with your insurance company to waive your deductible, proceed with estimating the damage to the vehicle and either repairing your vehicle or cutting a check to you for the total loss value or salvage value of your car.  Thereafter, the insurance company will forward a claim to their subrogation department and recoup your deductible and the amount they have expended to resolve your property damage from the third party carrier.    Your insurance company, typically, will not make efforts on your behalf to help you deal with your property damage when you do not have an attorney and your liability is in dispute with the third party insurance company.  Therefore, contact an attorney immediately after your accident, as having an attorney when dealing with your insurance company in this situation, though counter-intuitive, provides you with a valuable asset.

Should liability be accepted by the third party insurance carrier, the third party carrier will want to have separate and independent estimate prepared concerning the cost of repairing your vehicle. This often worries people because they feel they are going to be low-balled by the third party carrier.  Don’t worry, you are entitled under California law to the reasonable cost of your repairs. However, should the cost of repairing your vehicle exceed the current value of your vehicle, the insurance companies will deem your vehicle to be a total loss. At this point in time, you will be given what is called the salvage value of your car (typically the current value of your car in the second hand market.)

You are also entitled to loss of use of your vehicle which varies from state to state. You are entitled to this regardless of whether or not you decide to rent a car while your vehicle is being repaired.  Obtaining loss of use is another reason why you should contact an attorney immediately after the accident.  About fifty percent of the time, third party insurance carriers will “nickel and dime” you about the length of time that they will pay for a rental car and the amount they will pay for the car each day.  By contacting an experienced car accident lawyer immediately, you can accelerate the process of obtaining a rental car and having the transportation you need to move forward with your life despite the loss of your vehicle.  So contact an attorney immediately after the accident.

Further, you should not forget about damage to your personal property in the car at the time of the accident. All personal items which were present in the vehicle at the time of the accident which were damaged can be reimbursed.   Should you have had items damaged in the car, you should contact personal injury lawyer immediately with a list of those items and receipts/proof of ownership, so that the attorney can prepare a property damage demand to the third party carrier on your behalf.

In the absence of actual receipts for the products you claim were damaged in your vehicle at the time of the accident, you can print one or two documents showing the cost of the respective items at a particular online site or catalogue.

Finally, you may ask: “What if my car had custom features or bodywork.” Should this be the case, you can get reimbursement for the custom work, but once again, you will need to document either the value added to your vehicle through the custom work or the actual cost of the work.

So, contact an accident attorney immediately after your accident.  In addition to being able to help remunerate you for your personal injury and damage, the attorney can help to expedite and facilitate quick repair and/or reimbursement of the damage to your vehicle and attempt to get you in a rental car during the time your property damage is being handled.  Last, the attorney, typically, takes no money from your property damage check for damage to your vehicle.  So, the attorney’s assistance with your property damage claim (this does not apply to loss of use) is free.

Therefore, contacting an attorney immediately after your accident will provide with the assistance and speed necessary to, literally, help get you back on the road.

With Offices in Los Angeles, Temecula, Irvine, and Rancho Cucamonga, we are always close by and ready to assist you with any questions regarding auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, or pedestrian accidents.

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