The average amount of property damaged caused in each crash in the US is about $7,500, and considering Texas alone has over 400,000 crashes every year, you can image the massive impact that property damage has on our lives (and wallets) annually. Facing these costs, especially while dealing with the pain, medical treatments, missed work, and other stresses that come with serious accidents, is daunting. It can feel like there are too many huge decisions to make in too short a time. There are some key points after an accident at which you have the opportunity and power to make decisions around your property damage repair. Once you’ve determined your choices for these important decisions, the service providers you’ve selected can guide you through the right process. And as always, Thompson Law is here to help you have the best outcome possible after your accident.
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Filing an Insurance Claim and the Role of Fault
The first decision to be made is if you want to go through your insurance or the at-fault party’s insurance for your repairs. You only have this option if you are not at fault for the accident. If you are at fault, filing through your own insurance is the only option. Additionally, this consideration is only helpful if the at-fault party has adequate insurance. If they are uninsured or under-insured, you may need to file through your own insurance in order to recoup an amount that covers the value of your losses. It seems counter-intuitive to file against your own insurance when you did not cause the accident, especially if the at-fault party does have adequate coverage. However, even an adequate level by Texas law standards ($25,000 minimum) does not cover the full value of many vehicles on the road today. It is worth considering the benefit of receiving a higher payout through your own insurer, even if it potentially means higher future premiums for you.
Sourcing Vehicle Repairs
After you’ve made your decision about the insurance filing, the next thing you need to do is find the repair shop you would like to do the work. Insurance providers typically have repair shop networks that they prefer you to select. There can be a benefit in moving forward with these preferred shops, as the relationship shared by the shop and the insurer can expedite the process of communicating and handling your property damage claim.
Some people are understandably skeptical of these network providers, and worry the relationship is benefiting the insurer & shop more than their needs as the customer. This is a very understandable instinct, and one thing you can do to ensure you are getting a fair analysis of the damage and good service at the shop is to vet the businesses you are considering. Using review forums like Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Autobody Review, and more can provide you with valuable information from previous customers. In addition to checking these sites for reviews of good workmanship, fair pricing, honest practices, and good customer service, ask your real life network of friends and family for their experiences and recommendations. It never hurts to gather more information so you can make an informed choice for your car, truck, motorcycle or other repair! Finally, don’t forget to take your own needs into consideration. The most important thing a repair shop can do is provide good, fairly-priced work, but don’t undervalue considerations like the shop’s distance from your home or work. Choosing a convenient location, if you have the option, can make a huge impact on the amount of time and level of inconvenience that comes with having your source of transportation out of commission.
Property damage claims can be tricky and take more time and patience than seems reasonable. If you have reached a point where you feel you can’t make a decision or don’t know how best to move forward, Thompson Law is here for you. Our legal experts really have seen it all when it comes to motor vehicle accidents and property damage. They can certainly provide recommendations and guidance on the options you have and the considerations to make. Please reach out for the help you need after your serious accident.
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Tips and Tricks: A Couple More Options to Consider
We’ve written a few articles over the years about the trickster tactics employed by insurance adjusters in medical claims (like this one, or this one, … or even this one), so it likely comes as no surprise that the insurance companies are also prepared to cut corners in their customers’ cases of property damage. The following are other options available to you that are sometimes left unclear or avoided altogether by the insurance companies as they try to minimize their responsibility to a claim. Just remember, you are in the driver’s seat! Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you are owed.
- If the repair costs to the car exceed the estimated value of the vehicle, it will likely be declared a “Total Loss.” In the case of a Total Loss, you have the choice to keep your car or take the settlement when totaled. This decision will of course affect the settlement amount you are offered, so it is important to consider the financial impact for the short and long term. Additionally, keeping a car that has been totaled will require repairs to pass its next state inspection and you will likely be excluded from purchasing comprehensive insurance coverages for that vehicle.
- You do not have to accept an offer. Often insurance companies give low-ball offers or don’t do adequate research on the vehicle before determining its worth. They assume customers will just take what they are given and not question the amount – and unfortunately, people do fall victim to this practice. If you have made improvements to your car, had low mileage, or there were other circumstances that made your car more valuable than the offer, make this case to the insurance company. Your Thompson Law team can provide tips on how to navigate this option.
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Thompson Law Understands
Thompson Law is a Personal Injury Law Firm, so the focus of our practice is securing justice and fighting for deserved compensation in cases of bodily injury through error or negligence. However, our work frequently intersects with property damage situations, including cases like car accidents, truck wrecks, boating mishaps, and more. So, our experienced team is able to provide some guidance around the property damage you suffered in your injurious accident. We can help you to understand the scope of coverage an insurance policy offers and advise you of the route to take on the big decisions discussed above. What we can’t do is negotiate a property damage claim on your behalf. At Thompson Law, we want you to have the absolute best outcome possible. We are here to help you through your healing and recovery and fight for the compensation you deserve. It is in your best interest to take ownership of the property damage claim, so that you receive the highest settlement possible without any legal fees. But, as we help you through your personal injury case, we are here to answer questions and help you any way we can. Call THE FOURS LAWYERS in Dallas at 214-444-4444 or Fort Worth at 817-444-4444, or toll free at the phone number below if you need a San Antonio car wreck lawyer or live elsewhere in Texas.
Call (844) 308-8180
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