You don’t need to understand very much about the law to prove that your car sustained property damage in a motor vehicle collision. In fact, the hardest part about collecting on your claim is actually proving the damage to the insurance company. After all, damaged quarter panels with rust can look like preexisting damage. Also, a trailer hitch that punctures an engine can oftentimes cause engine failure. But, suppose the engine has over 100,000 miles on it. Does the insurance company owe you a brand new engine? This is another situation where insurance companies get stubborn.
Proof of property damage consists of photos of your vehicle from before and after the accident, invoices evidencing upgrades (new tires, new engine, etc.), and the testimony of auto body mechanics.
The law requires insurance companies to pay you the reasonable market value of a totaled vehicle or to repair your vehicle to its "pre-accident" condition. Nevertheless, insurance companies oftentimes attempt to shirk their responsibility by making low ball offers on totaled vehicles and by using after-market parts in the repair of damaged vehicles. What you need to understand is that when an insurance company acts unreasonably, you should strongly consider taking your claim to court. Insurance companies are usually unprepared to defend their aggressive positions in court.
Judges are people too. They become judges because they believe in justice and respect the law. When some adjuster is telling you why he is not going to repair a part of your car, don’t forget that the adjuster is not the judge or jury on this issue. So, I often remind adjusters that my clients are willing to take property claims to court with their personal injury claims. Or, sometimes, I take property damage claims to court as stand-alone lawsuits.
If you are bringing your property damage claims to court by yourself as a stand-alone lawsuit, you must be careful because you may waive your personal injury claims. For the sake of efficiency, Colorado law requires you to bring all possible claims when you sue someone for an incident such as a motor vehicle accident. Accordingly, these matters require careful and particularized legal consideration and you must proceed with caution if you file a lawsuit for property damage your car sustained in an accident.
At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we know that insurance companies take unreasonable positions when it comes to the repair or replacement of your vehicle after an auto accident. While property damage claims are not complicated, they can become complicated if you have to bring a lawsuit against the unreasonable insurance company through the negligent driver who caused the collision. If you are not careful, you can waive important rights and potential claims. Please call us at (303) 782-9999 today for a free personal injury consultation if you have been in a car accident and the insurance company is refusing to fairly compensate you for your property damage and or personal injuries.