The most important consideration after a car accident is your health. If you are injured or think you are injured, call 9-1-1. Remember that, because of the effects of shock and adrenaline, injuries can manifest themselves hours or even days after an accident. Pay close attention to how your body is feeling after the impact and go to the doctor as soon as possible if you are feeling anything out of the ordinary.
After your health, your next biggest concern is likely the property damage sustained in the accident, especially when the accident was caused because of someone’s negligence. The cost of repairing your vehicle is the most pressing concern; however, it is not the only type of property damage that you may recover. Assuming that your vehicle is not a “total loss” and that the at-fault driver has a liability policy that will cover the cost of your property damages, there are three common types of property claim that you can make:
Cost of Repairs. Cost of repairs is simply the amount of money that it will cost to repair your vehicle to its state immediately before the accident. In Texas, you have the right to use the mechanic or body shop of your choice regardless of the insurance company’s preferred vendors. Normally, the mechanic will work directly with the insurance company to get the cost of repairs covered. Alternatively, you may be able to obtain a repair estimate from the insurance adjuster and have the insurance provider pay you directly to get the necessary repairs. If you go this route, it is important to get an independent estimate to ensure that the insurance company takes into account all of the necessary repairs.
Loss of Use. Loss of use damages encompass the damages you have sustained because you were unable to use your vehicle during the repair period. These damages most commonly include the cost of renting a vehicle or using a taxi or ride-sharing service.
Diminution in Value. Finally, you can also make a claim for the difference in the value of your vehicle immediately before the collision and after repairs are completed because of the intrinsic loss in value that the vehicle has suffered as a result of the accident. All other things being equal, a truck that has not been involved in any collision is worth more than a truck that has been involved in one accident, which is worth more than a truck that has been involved in five Included in this loss in value may be the difference in the value of OEM components, rather than after market components. Therefore, in order to make the strongest possible claim for diminution in value, it is important to obtain regular appraisals of your vehicle in order to compare its value following a collision. Several companies across the country also offer independent diminution in value appraisal services that can be used when negotiating with the insurance company.
If the at-fault driver does not have liability coverage, you may still be able to recover these kinds of damages under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist property coverage. However, every policy is different; it is important to read and understand your policy so that you are aware of what your insurer will and will not cover in the event of a collision.
The attorneys at Armstrong & Lee LLP are well versed in the language of insurance policies. If you have suffered an accident and need legal assistance in pursuing a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, please do not hesitate to call us today.