Handling your own property damage insurance claim is a lot of work. If you are serious about taking this on by yourself, get familiar with the basics. A personal injury case is completely different from a property damage claim, and to confuse them could get you into some trouble. The easiest distinction is that personal injury cases could take years, while property damage should take weeks to months.
How to Use Property Damage Adjusters
Property damage adjusters are no joke — they will use every trick they can to limit your car accident payout. This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but if you don’t make a conscious effort to censor yourself, you could easily end up saying something to the adjuster that will hurt your case. When speaking with your insurance adjuster, stay on point; do not let them get you to talk about your treatment.
Who to Sue?
Seems like a simple enough question, but when it comes to law it rarely is. There are three options: you can pursue a third party claim, go after the defendant’s collision policy, or use your own uninsured motorist coverage. If liability is 100% clear, go after the third party claim. You will receive compensation within a matter of days or weeks. If the defendant has insurance, but liability is unclear, you might want to consider getting reimbursed through your own collision policy. This will get you a relatively quick reimbursement, but you have to comply with your insurance company’s rules for inspection and estimates. If your own insurance company tries to deny your claim, you may be able to sue them for insurance bad faith. If the other driver does not have insurance and you have uninsured motorist coverage, using your UM coverage might be your only option.
Getting your car fixed can be a little tricky. If the defendant’s insurance company is not accepting liability it could take you a very long time to get your car back on the road. If this is the case, you might want to file under your own auto insurance policy. If you find a shop you like, make sure you receive clearance from the insurer before your car is fixed.
Rentals and Other Lost Items
If your policy includes rental coverage, they will get you a temporary vehicle. Anything in your vehicle at the time of your car accident that was destroyed needs to be include in your property damage settlement. Make sure to take pictures, keep receipts and have overall detailed documentation of the items you are claiming.
Final Settlement and Release
Once all property costs have been accrued as a result of your car accident, put together a list for the adjuster. In a short period of time you should obtain a settlement from either the other driver’s insurance or your own company.
Do be aware that you will have to sign a document releasing the insurance company from their property damage reimbursement obligations, since they are paying you all costs incurred. Make sure the release is solely for your property damage claim.
California Personal Injury
Need an experienced California car personal injury lawyer? Want to know if you have a case? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation for your injuries? Want justice? Want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else?
Call your friends in the legal industry after a California car accident.
The call is free. The advice may be priceless.