An Alabamian was in a car accident every three minutes and 18 seconds in 2019, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. In addition to bodily injury, property damage is often a result of these collisions. And if you have ever had your car repaired before, you know how quickly property damage costs in car accidents can add up.
You should not have to shoulder the costs of the property damage in your car accident if the crash was someone else’s fault. But how are you supposed to get your auto repairs covered? Alabama car accident laws allow you to demand compensation from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. But that doesn’t mean that they will immediately pay up.
That is where an experienced car damage lawyer can step in. A trusted attorney from Warren & Simpson can help you recover compensation for the property damage caused by your auto accident. Here’s what you need to know about the process and how a car accident property damage attorney can help.
WHAT IS A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?
Under Alabama law, a property damage claim allows the owner of a vehicle that someone else has damaged to recover compensation for the loss. A car accident property damage settlement may include compensation for the following:
- Repairs made to the vehicle (including new parts, labor, and all taxes and fees)
- Replacement of the vehicle (if the vehicle is totaled)
- A rental car while the car is being repaired or replaced
The responsibility to pay for the property damage will likely fall on the at-fault party’s auto insurance company. But in cases in which the at-fault driver has no insurance or inadequate coverage, you may make the claim directly against them. Read on to learn why teaming up with a legal professional is the best course of action.
DO I NEED A CAR DAMAGE LAWYER?
A car accident property damage attorney can be a great ally as you seek compensation through a vehicle damage claim. Why? Because the at-fault party’s insurance company is going to do everything it can to reduce the amount of money they have to give you or avoid paying you entirely.
In fact, insurers employ teams of adjusters and attorneys who are highly skilled at saving money for their employers. They do this by trying to twist your words and offer fast lowball settlements that will not fully cover the damage to your vehicle. They may call you and pretend they are simply looking for a little more information about the crash, but they are really trying to get you to say something that might make it look like you are at fault.
A car accident lawyer for property damage claims will not allow you to become the victim of these shady, dishonest tactics. Your attorney can handle all communications with the insurers to ensure you recover every cent you deserve for the damage to your car.
While a skilled attorney at Warren & Simpson can help with all kinds of auto damage claims, it is especially important to speak with an attorney if your car is severely damaged or totaled. The benefits of working with a car accident property damage attorney are likely to be greater when there is more compensation on the line. For insight into the property damage claim process, keep reading.
THE PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM PROCESS
An Alabama car damage lawyer can walk you through every step of the property damage claim process, but we have outlined the process below:
- Get the driver’s information. Get the name, address, license plate number and insurance information of the other involved driver.
- Gather evidence. Take photos or videos of the accident scene, your vehicle, and the other involved vehicles or objects.
- Contact the insurance company. Often, Alabama property damage claims are resolved through your own insurer, which will seek payment from the other driver’s insurer on your behalf. Remember that insurers — even your own — are not your friend, so it is important to talk to an attorney and stick to just the facts.
- Report the accident. In some cases, Alabama law requires you to report the accident to the police, but it’s always a good idea to report an accident if you plan to make a property damage claim.
- Follow up. The insurance adjuster will likely give you a call to let you know how the evaluation is going and ask for more information. You can ask your attorney to handle this call for you and give you updates as the claim process continues.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for property damage claims in Alabama is six years. You must file your claim before this deadline or risk losing your chance to recover. While this may seem like a long time, it’s better to bring forward your case sooner rather than later. A car accident lawyer who handles property damage claims can help you make sure you meet all deadlines.
HOW IS THE VALUE OF MY CLAIM DETERMINED?
The value of a property damage claim for an auto accident is determined by subtracting the fair market value of your car after the accident from its fair market value immediately before the crash. The difference is the amount of compensation you are owed. If the damage to your vehicle is worth greater than 75 percent of the vehicle’s pre-accident fair market value, it will be considered a total loss under Alabama law.
Whether your car was totaled or only had external damage, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damage someone else caused. A car accident property damage attorney can make sure you don’t have to.
GET EVERY CENT YOU DESERVE. CONTACT WARREN & SIMPSON TODAY.
A trusted auto accident lawyer from Warren & Simpson can help you with every step of the car accident property damage claim process. That includes gathering evidence, speaking with the insurers, and ensuring that you receive the maximum available settlement.
Our attorneys have won more than 2,060 cases, and we are ready to win for you. Contact a car damage lawyer at Warren & Simpson online or by calling 256-539-7575.