“I was recently in a collision and my car was totaled. How can I get the insurance company to pay for my property damage?”
I’m Katelyn Holub, a personal injury attorney practicing law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a listener who would like to know about getting his property damage claim paid after being in a motor vehicle collision.
In Indiana, if your vehicle sustains property damage as a result of a collision, there are potentially several options for getting compensation for that property damage.
First, you can check to see if your own automobile insurance policy provides collision coverage. Often this coverage is available to cover property damage your vehicle sustained in a collision without any determination as to who was at fault for the collision. If you do have this type of coverage under your policy, you usually have to pay out your deductible amount in order to get the property damage compensation from your insurer. For example, if you have $5,000 worth of property damage and a $500 deductible, then your insurance would give you $4,500.
Second, if you don’t have property damage coverage through your own automobile insurance policy, you can see if the other driver involved in the collision has insurance that will cover your property damage. However, you will not get anything from that other driver’s insurance unless it is absolutely clear that the other driver was at fault for the collision. If it is clear that the other driver was at fault and that other driver’s insurance company agrees, you can get them to pay your property damage claim –and in this situation there would be no deductible, so they would pay your entire property damage claim.
So if an insurer will pay your property damage claim—whether it’s the other driver’s insurer or your own—, before that insurer pays you anything it is going to perform an analysis in which it determines the value of your vehicle, learns who has title to the vehicle, and other related information. It’s a good idea to get a couple different estimates on your vehicle before you start talking with an adjuster from either party’s insurance about the value of your vehicle.
Now if you have been injured in the collision, you have to be very cautious about communicating with the other driver’s insurance adjuster. Even if that insurance adjuster tells you that they’re just solely dealing with property damage, anything you say about your injury or how you’re feeling that day goes into their record and can be used against you when it comes to your bodily injury claim. If you are injured in a collision, we suggest you see an attorney before you even begin to discuss or negotiate your property damage claim or discuss anything with the other driver’s insurance company.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if your vehicle has to be in the shop for a few weeks getting repair work done, you may be entitled to get a rental car. It depends on if you have that kind of rental car coverage under your own insurance policy. And under certain circumstances, you may also get the other driver’s insurance company to pay for you to have a rental car while repairs are being done on your car if the other driver is very clearly at fault for the collision. However, that is not always the case nor is it always possible.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at +1 (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.