I get asked these questions about repairing the property damage after a wreck more than you think. While we at the Pinkerton Law Firm mainly represent people for their bodily injury claims; we often help clients get their car repaired. In many instances, there is a dispute as to who caused the wreck, and this can add weeks to the time it takes to get your car back.
You might be asking, so Mr. Pinkerton, what should I do to get my car repaired when the insurance companies are stalling? Immediately after the accident, call your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. If either of them is willing to fix the vehicle, take it to the recommended shop and be done with it. But when the insurance company is not complying, when you’ve called both companies and neither is repairing the vehicle and you’re sitting there for weeks with a damaged vehicle, you don’t have to accept that.
You pay your premium, you have insurance.
- Take your vehicle to a shop and ask them to give you an estimate.
- Call your own insurance company and tell them that they need to fix the car. Give them the estimate. Let them know that it was part of a wreck and although the other party is at fault, that the other party is not fixing your vehicle.
- Your insurance company has to repair your vehicle. They themselves can go after the other insurance company to get their money back. This is called a subrogation interest and basically means they have a right to seek reimbursement from the other company. Just because the other insurance company won’t fix it doesn’t mean your insurance can refuse – this is why you have insurance.
- You also need to file a diminished value claim. Not all insurances cover diminished value, but it is definitely worth claiming after a wreck. What diminished value means is this: Your car was worth X number of dollars before the collision. However, after the wreck, and even though no miles were put on your car, and hopefully more years haven’t passed, your car is actually going to be worthless, even after it is repaired. As you know, a car that has been in a wreck is worth less than a car that hasn’t. So a diminished value claim will compensate you for the loss in value as a result of the collision.
In closing, don’t sit there and wait for insurance companies to figure out who will repair the car. Get your insurance company, that you pay for, to fix the vehicle and they will fight the other insurance company for reimbursement. Also, don’t forget to get compensated for the diminished value, if available. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at the Pinkerton Law Firm at 713-360-6722 and we’d be glad to help.