Sometimes your vehicle damage claim can be the most frustrating aspect of an accident. You may not be able to get to work or to the doctor because your car is not driveable and the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not being helpful. It is important that you understand how insurance companies process these claims so you know what to expect.
The insurance company is not going to take responsibility for your claim until they have completed their investigation into the accident. This means they may want to review the accident report, inspect your car, take a statement from their insured, and interview the police officer and any witnesses. They may also want to take your recorded statement.
If a decision is made to accept the claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will then pay to have your car repaired or, if the car is totaled, pay you its fair market value. By North Carolina law, if the repair bill is greater than 75% of the fair market value, then the at-fault driver’s insurance company will total the car. If the insurance company decides to total your car, they will probably pay off any outstanding loans on the car and then pay you the balance, if any. If the car’s fair market value is less than you owe, you are still responsible for paying the loan. The insurer will take possession of the car after you sign over the title. If the bank has the title, the insurance company will have you sign a power of attorney to give it the authority to transfer the title.
If your car is repairable, then the at-fault insurance company will give you a cost estimate prepared by their appraiser. You then have the freedom to choose the body shop you want to fix your car. You are not required to take it to the insurance company’s approved repair shops, although there may be certain advantages to doing so.
Furthermore, if they accept responsibility, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will usually pay for a rental car. You will normally have to have a credit card to get the car. Generally, they pay between $20 and $26 a day for the rental. In certain circumstances, they will pay for more. If your car is not driveable but is repairable, you will be provided a rental car for a reasonable period of time while your car is repaired. If your car is driveable, you will be provided a rental car when your car goes into the shop and until it is repaired. If your car is totaled, you will be provided a rental car for a reasonable period of time, usually not more than a few days.
Other questions we can answer for you:
- Can the at-fault driver’s insurance company insist on used parts to repair your car?
- What is the substitution of collateral and how it can help you get into a new car faster through your current car loan if you don’t have enough equity in your car?
- What should you do if the insurance company’s investigation is taking too long or they deny the claim?
- If the at-fault insurance company is delaying the claim, can your own insurance company assist you?
- How does diminished value work and when are you entitled to it?
- What is the 25% rule in regard to disclosure to any potential buyers of the wrecked status of your repaired car?
Causes of Car Accidents
Many car accidents occur because of negligent, reckless, or careless drivers. Some of the most common causes of car crashes in North Carolina include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Passing without moving over to an adjacent lane
- Turning or changing lanes without signaling or checking mirrors
- Running red lights or stop signs or disregarding traffic controls
- Distracted driving, especially using a cell phone while driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Traveling the wrong way down a one-way highway or access ramp
- Reckless driving, such as excessive speeding or swerving through traffic
- Aggressive driving and/or road rage
- Driver inexperience
Other factors that cause or contribute to car accidents include poor road conditions (such as potholes or black ice), adverse weather, low visibility, inadequate car maintenance, and car or auto part defects.
Common Car Crash Injuries
The North Carolina car accident lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. assist clients as they recover from serious or life-altering car accident injuries, such as:
Car Accidents Claim FAQs
If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy’s limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and personal injuries.
You should immediately consult your medical provider regarding any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from the accident, even if you think they may be only minor injuries. Even if you did not complain of injuries at the scene of the car accident, if you were injured in the accident from someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earnings capacity, and emotional distress. You should consult an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., to discuss whether you need representation on your claim.
Damage caused by improper maintenance or repair of roads and highways may be the cause of damage to your vehicle. Generally, responsibility lies with the government agency responsible for this maintenance. If it was a pothole in a city street, the city may be responsible.
No. Tell the insurance company that you will get back to them. In the meantime, contact an attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., immediately. An insurance company may offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you will not sue them. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney.
A claim for injuries is usually based upon carelessness or negligence. In worse case scenarios, it is based on an intentional or reckless act. The three categories of issues that typically arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident are:
- Liability – who is at fault and to what degree.
- Damages – injuries or losses that were caused by the accident.
- Insurance Coverage – whether the insurance company provides coverage to the at fault party.
If you have been injured, you will likely have medical bills from physicians, hospitals, physical therapists, and other health care providers. Those bills will be in your name and will usually be sent to your address. You are primarily responsible for paying your bills, regardless of the cause of your injuries. The at-fault person’s liability insurance carrier is responsible for paying you reasonable compensation for damages incurred, which includes medical bills, but the insurance carrier is not responsible for paying your doctors, hospitals, and other providers. Sometimes the amount the insurance company is willing to pay is far less than the actual amount you owe. You need an attorney who fill fight for your rights with the insurance companies to ensure that you are fully compensated. Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., today to discuss your course of action.
Almost always, yes. The law states that you must maintain a safe distance to be able to stop safely if a car stops in front of you.