Monday, February 11, 2019

Who Should Pay For My Property Damage in Louisville After a Car Crash?

I'm working on property damage today.  If your lawyer tells you that he only represents you on the injury claim and not the property damage claim than your lawyer is being lazy.  I will say that I authorize the insurance companies to set up a viewing of the vehicle and communication with my clients on this aspect of the claim.  Generally speaking my clients are going to know more about he value of their vehicle, but I'm happy to assist when necessary.



Property damage works like this: 1) the at fault vehicle pays for your damage (in pre-lit or because a judge/jury tells them to) or 2) you have comprehensive and collision and your insurance company pays for the damage. 

#1 is usually the preference because most people don't want to pay their deductible and most people want the other persons insurance company to be on the hook.  The issue here is that liability here needs to be relatively clear cut for the at fault carrier to make a liability decision and cover the damage.  If liability is disputed then the at fault won't pay on the sooner side and a lawsuit may be necessary.  That won't "speed" up the process, but it will get the carriers attention.  A carrier subjects itself to bad faith by failing to properly investigate.  That is the topic of another post.

So lets say you are side swiped and the other driver says you caused the crash.  His insurance company isn't going to pay for your damages without being forced to by a just or jury. If that is the case you better hope you option #2 available to you.

The quickest way to get the damage covered is thorough your carrier if you have the right coverage.  They will set it up and move the damage along.  Your insurance, assuming they don't think you are at fault, will then pursue the other insurance company to reimburse them.

The next question you have is how do they pay me.  If your vehicle is totaled they owe you the market value of the vehicle at the time of the loss.  Contrary to what you would wish, this means what the vehicle is worth and NOT what you owe on it (insert GAP insurance).  If you owe more on the vehicle due to depreciation then you can be in a bad spot, but the law can't force someone to pay for more damage than what something is worth.  If the car is fixable they will pay for the damages at the repair facility.  That is pretty cut and dry, but make sure you get a repair facility that you like and trust.

Some other tips: if you can wait get both carriers to make you an offer on the vehicle and take the higher one AND do not be fooled into thinking you must bring the vehicle where the insurance adjuster tells you go.  You have the right to choose the auto repair facility of your liking.  They want you to use theirs because its quick and cheap.  You don't want quick and cheap.

All of the above info is general.  As any lawyer would tell you...there are exceptions to everything.  I'm happy to discuss at 502-779-9998 or 502-444-HURT or bdettman@dettmanlawrgoup.com

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