Do you have property damage after an accident and have questions about these 6 property damage tips for you? Call our lawyers to get started.
1) Selecting a Property Damage Attorney
For an auto damage claim, the best way to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim is to find a lawyer that has experience in handling these claims or have an attorney who’s a former insurance adjustor handled these claims for an insurance company.
2) Property Damage Attorney Fees
In Florida, it can take from a day or two to several weeks on average to get a property damage claim settled. It depends on how fast the at fault party’s insurance company can conduct investigation because they want to verify your facts, how the accident happened, by obtaining police reports, independent statements, statements from their insured. Sometimes insurers don’t report the claims right away so things can drag out a little bit. Most people report actions right away to their insurance companies and insurance companies have a duty to act quickly and in good faith. Normally, it would take just a few days to get your property damage claim settled or at least started so that they can get the damages appraised and pay you for your loss. If that doesn’t happen in a timely fashion, it’s not always on the insurance company. It could be the insurer. It could be their looking for an independent witness to verify what happened. Sometimes police make mistakes in their reports, so they want to verify exactly what happened before they pay your claim, but generally speaking, within a few days to within a week, most property damage claims are either settled or things are in motion to get them settled in a fast manner.
3) Giving a Recorded Statement For Property Damage
On your auto damage claim under Florida law and in terms of your policy, you are required to cooperate with the insurance company and most policies require to give a recorded statement. If, however, you’re dealing with the at fault party’s insurance company, there is no legal requirement to give a recorded statement and therefore you should not because they always, always, always are trying to look for ways to limit their liability and pay you less of what you’re really entitled to. Our advice generally is with your own company, you must submit to a statement, but against the other party’s insurance company, do not.
4) Property Damage Release Form
Generally, you should not sign a property damage release in Florida because there is always the potential for hidden damage on your vehicle once repairs are undertaken. A lot of insurance companies want you to sign release so they can limit their liability and if there’s any hidden damage found later, that falls on you. Our advice generally is to not sign a release until you know completely what all your damages are, until the car’s been paid for and you’ve tested it and you’re happy with the repairs and they compensated you for your loss of use and diminished value. Truthfully, that is the only time you should sign a release is after all those damages have been paid.
5) Insurance Company Refuses to Pay Damages
In Florida, if the at fault party’s insurance company is refusing to pay your claim, one of the things you can do is file a complaint with insurance commissioner. You can do this over the phone or online. The insurance commissioner’s office will actually investigate and try and find out why the insurance company is denying your claim. If it’s a valid denial, then there’s probably nothing further you can do other than to file suit against the person that caused the accident. If it is not a valid delay, then the insurance commissioner’s office will pressure the insurance company to pay your claim to assist you any way else it can. The last thing you can do, obviously, is to hire a firm like ours to prosecute a case against the at fault party and through their insurance company get you paid.
6) Other Person Doesn’t Have Insurance
If a person that caused the accident doesn’t have insurance and you have collision coverage on your policy, then obviously the best way to get paid is go with your own company and let them pay for your damages and they will then go after the person that caused the accident in an attempt to collect back your deductible for you. If they’re successful, they’ll do that. The other way is you can file a lawsuit directly against the person that caused the accident in small claims court for up to $8,000 and you don’t need a lawyer to assist you with that. If it’s more than that, then the courts will generally require you to have an attorney to help you with the case, although it’s not absolutely necessary, but depending on the amount of the damages, you may want to consider doing that. It also becomes a question of whether or not you’re going to be able to collect at the end of the day depending on whether or not the defendant, the person that caused the accident, has assets to pay your claim.
Do you have serious property damage after a car accident and have questions about these 6 property damage tips for you? Contact our experienced Southwest Florida car accident property damage lawyers today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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