After carefully documenting all damages to your vehicle, begin the process of repairing or replacing your vehicle. The driver at fault for the accident—or that driver’s insurance company—should be responsible for related costs. Many insurance companies also cover costs of rental cars during the interim. However, before contacting the insurance company, discuss your approach, expectations, and other concerns with your attorney. Request a formal contract, and make sure you do not agree to sub-par terms, such as the use of aftermarket or junk parts to repair your vehicle, rather than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.
Coordinate with the auto insurance company to settle on a collision repair center or rental car agency, and check references and reviews of all your options. The insurance company may send out an adjuster to provide an initial estimate before sending the vehicle out for repairs.
Throughout this process, save all paperwork, and consider all offers carefully before reaching an agreement. If the insurance company offers a set dollar amount for the vehicle repair or purchase, conduct research to determine whether the price is fair, and be assertive in your negotiations. Interview other auto insurance agents to determine a standard price, visit car dealerships, and research online for the average cost to replace your vehicle; also, talk to mechanics about factors to consider when pricing the repair or replacement of your car. The insurance company should either fix the vehicle or total it out and pay you the fair market value of the car. If it costs more to fix the car than to replace it, the insurer has to pay you fair market value – whatever amount is less. For instance, if it costs $25,000 to fix the vehicle, but your car is only worth $10,000, the insurance company only needs to pay you $10,000.
As always, run all information by your lawyer, and verify your strategy before agreeing to any terms.
For immediate insight into your Nebraska car accident, call Inkelaar Law to get the justice you deserve at (877) 537-4665, or visit www.JusticeYouDeserve.com.