Handling Vehicle Damage Following An Accident in Florida
Determining how to get a damaged vehicle repaired following an accident can be a confusing process. How you proceed depends on the available insurance policies and coverage limits.
Here are the most common scenarios:
1. The other party is at fault and has property damage insurance
2. The other party is at fault and does not have property damage insurance
If you have collision insurance, it will pay the damages. If not, you can seek compensation from the at-fault party personally.
Many drivers find it better to submit a claim on your own insurance policy due to expediency and coverage availability. This is called a “first party claim”. A claim against the other driver’s insurance is called a “third party claim”. You may ultimately end up submitted claims against your insurance and the other driver’s if a personal injury is involved.
In either case, when you or your attorney notify the applicable insurance company of the accident, they will open a claim. This will generate a claim number, an appointment of an adjuster to investigate and manage the claim. The adjuster will request information, have the vehicle inspected, and a repair estimate generated. The adjuster also has a right to review records such as medical records that are a part of your claim.
At this time you can have the vehicle repaired and seek medical treatment while having the bill submitted to your insurer or the other party’s if you notify the provider of services of the claim. Keep in mind that the other party’s insurance company has a right to inspect the vehicle and your insurer may require you use a collision repair shop they designate. If you have a repair shop of choice, the insurance company(ies) may request multiple damage estimates. Sometimes the insurer and the repair shop can communicate directly regarding costs if their estimates do not align.
Remember that not only has your vehicle been damaged but also it has lost value due to the accident. This is called diminished value. If you have an attorney, they will send a demand letter or communicate with the insurance company regarding the lost value of your vehicle and the evidence which supports it. After the insurance company completes their investigation, they may grant or deny your claim, or offer a settlement value. You can accept the offer or appeal the denial with the company. When you reach a resolution for the claim, remember that the process of subrogation will often apply and releases may need to be signed, which means some additional time before receiving a check.
Don’t Face it Alone
Contact us to discover how we can help you to get through the difficult time after an accident. Oldham and Delcamp trial attorneys have the experience and expertise to fight for your needs and help you to reclaim your life after a slip and fall accident. We can help as your slip and fall lawyer, DUI law and auto accident attorney as well as rear-end accidents attorney, trucking accidents attorney and premises liability lawyer.
Oldham & Delcamp is a member of the Attorney’s Real Estate Council of Pinellas County, is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Pinellas County Bar Association, and is the former chair of the Real Property section.
When your freedom is on the line, you need an attorney that is aggressive, responsive, and experienced. Oldham & Delcamp is committed to making sure that each of our clients receives the personalized attention of one of our attorneys.