Dealing with the Damage to Your Car after an Accident

One of the things people need to deal with after being in a car accident is dealing with the damage to your car.  People want their car usable as soon as possible.  Generally, the first step in getting your vehicle repaired is to obtain an estimate of the total cost of the damages. While many car insurance companies will do this for you, some force you to obtain your own estimate from an approved provider.  We can discuss the relevant issues with you and generally help our clients on the car damage side without charge.

Estimate For Damage To Your Car

When getting a car accident vehicle damage estimate, keep in mind that the insurance company will want to pay as little as possible.  You are right to be concerned about the quality of the repair work. And, if you believe that the company’s estimate misses some issues or is too low, make sure you obtain a separate estimate that addresses your concerns.

One of the issues that drives people crazy is the loss in value at time of resale between a vehicle that was never in a collision and one that has been repaired.  The law calls this “diminution of value.”  There is no question that you have a right to recover that loss under Idaho law.  It is far harder, however, to prove that loss  than to prove the cost of repair.  And the insurance companies generally do not want to pay anything for that loss.

What Happens When Your Car Is Totaled

If the accident caused a significant amount of damage, your vehicle could be declared a total loss. This means the damages are so great that there is nothing left of value.

If your vehicle is totaled, you’ll receive a check for the fair market value of the car in exchange for your car.  Most insurance companies will give you the option of deducting the salvage value from the fair market value and keeping your car. The fair market value is the value the vehicle would have sold for before the accident, taking into account current market conditions. You should attempt to negotiate the fair market value if an initial offer is too low.   Keep in mind that this amount is not based on your car’s Blue Book value.  That number is but one source of what similar cars are selling for in your geographical area.  So you will want to get the relevant market data for negotiating.  This will include cars listed for sale in your area online or in vehicle classifieds.

Protect Your Legal Rights

In addition to just getting your car fixed, Idaho law may entitle you to compensation  for medical care and other losses if you have been injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Hepworth Holzer are dedicated to assisting Idaho residents who have been injured due to the negligent actions of others. Call (208) 328-6998 or contact us online for a free case review and evaluation.

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