You may be looking to answers to one of these common questions pertaining to insurance coverage from Virginia a car crash.
- How much does the insurance company cover if my car is a total loss (i.e. the damage is so severe the car is not drivable)?
- What must the claims adjuster pay for major body/property damage to my car?
- How do I figure out full value for my totaled car?
- Does the claims adjuster have to provide a rental car while my car is being repaired?
- What if I suffer a serious injury from the accident?
Here are some answers:
Value of Cars that are “Totaled” (Total Loss)
Virginia, and most other states, require that an insurance company pay for a comparable rental car during the time that your car is being repaired, as well as during the time it takes them to provide you an offer for the total loss of your car. While we are normally retained by a personal injury client to resolve their personal injury claim, we provide as a free courtesy, information necessary for our clients to settle the car damage/total loss of their vehicle with the claims adjuster. Many of the car insurance companies assign one claims adjuster to handle a personal/bodily injury, and a different claims adjuster to deal with the car damage/property damage/total loss of a vehicle.
First, if a vehicle is a total loss, you must check the NADA value (www.NADA.com) to determine, at the month and year that your damage occurred, the retail value of your vehicle with its mileage, options and accessories. A second source to check the retail value of your vehicle, if damaged or totaled, is www.Edmunds.com , another site that allows you to enter the appropriate data. Note that the insurance company must pay the retail value, not the trade in or wholesale value.
In some cases, even after proper, expensive repairs, a car is still the de-valued, or more formally this is called a "diminution in the value of the car." Insurers deny, deny any diminution of value, but in the appropriate circumstance must pay for diminished value of a vehicle even after a proper, extensive repair job.
It is the retail value and not the wholesale or trade value which the car insurance company owes you if their insured driver caused your damage. While our law firm is hired to handle the injury claim (a separate issue), we often give free advice to our client on the handling of the total loss of their vehicle. We make sure that our client is not taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Compensation for Damage to Your Car
A car insurance company whose insured driver causes damage to your car, normally must pay for restoring it to its pre-accident condition. Disputes often arise about used parts versus new parts, and generally a consumer can insist on adding the same type of part that was damaged, that is a replacement part of the same quality. Normally, this does not mean a rebuilt or used part. Our lawyers handle the personal injury arising out of a car accident, but provide free advice to our clients one how to handle the situation where a insurance company claims adjuster tries to avoid paying fair compensation for the damage to a car owned by our client.
Rental Car Issues
During the time the car repairs are underway, car insurance claims adjusters must make arrangements to provide a comparable rental car for you. Many clients have rental car reimbursement on their own policy and generally it does not need to be used because common law requires that the insurance company whose driver causes the damage must compensate and pay for a comparable rental car. It is nice to have rental car reimbursement on your own policy if the other insurance company is dragging its feet or delaying a decision on paying for your rental car. We often tell our clients to go and obtain the rental car using their own insurance if they need a car right away, and several days later if the other insurance company then recognizes it has a duty to pay our client, they simply take over the bill for the rental car that has been obtained.
Serious Injury from Accident
Many times, when our client's cars are totaled, they also suffer injuries that don't heal quickly and can be quite severe. The process for filing a personal injury claim can get complicated, especially since insurance companies routinely drag their feet in responding to such claims. This is why you should consider hiring an experienced injury attorney to handle dealing with the insurance company and fighting on your behalf.
If you'd like some information about the potential fair value of the injury you sustained in the accident, click on one of these informatiive articles:
Determining the value of your potential claim
Virginia statute of limitations for a personal injury claim
How much you might recover if your case went to court
Why you may need legal counsel