If you have been involved in an accident and your car was damaged, it is pretty standard for the insurance company to cover this loss without much hassle. In most cases, the responsible party’s insurance company will take care of this problem within a few weeks.
However, if there is any question about the cost to repair the vehicle, the extent of the damage, the value of the vehicle if it is considered totaled, or if it is included as part of a personal injury lawsuit, the time to settle this issue may be significantly longer.
If a solution cannot be found between you and the insurance company, you may have to file a lawsuit against the insurer.
Common Disputes When A Car Is Damaged In An Accident
The most common reasons that there may be a dispute about the car damage include:
– Questions about the percentage of your fault for the accident
– Value of the repairs compared to what insurance company is willing to pay
– Value of the vehicle if it is determined a total loss
In states with comparative negligence laws, the insurance company may reduce the amount they are willing to pay for your car repairs based on the percentage you were considered at fault for the accident. If this happens, you will need to prove that the percentage is inaccurate and show how the other party is completely at fault.
The value of the repairs can be a challenge. The insurance company may want you to have your car repaired at their chosen facility, which costs a lot less. You may want your car repaired by your preferred mechanic. This will take negotiation to see how much more you can get from the insurer.
If the vehicle is considered totaled, there is always a significant difference between the car’s worth and what it was valued at by the insurer. You will need to provide a lot of proof that your car was worth more than the blue book value of the car at the time of the accident.
It is important to understand that most insurance policies do not have replacement coverage on a vehicle. They only cover the actual value of that car based on industry standards. For many people with newer vehicles that still have a loan against the title, this could leave them owing a balance on the vehicle.
If you have a dispute with the insurance company and have to file a lawsuit, you will need an attorney’s assistance.
Most Cases Settle Before They Go To Court
Going to trial is expensive, and the insurance company will try to avoid having to go to court. In most cases, if you have had to file a lawsuit against the insurance company, it will go to mediation before it goes to trial. A majority of all claims are settled in mediation.
Both sides of the issue will arrive at the mediator’s office, and then the mediator will listen to the case. Since the mediator is not involved with either party, they have no bias to the case’s outcome. Once both sides have been heard, the mediator will suggest how to settle the case where everyone is happy. This is usually a very successful way to get a fair settlement from the insurer and is less time-consuming and more cost-effective than going to trial.