my car wasn't even 5 months old when I was rear ended. do i deserve a new car ? devaluation? what kind of attorney do I need to hire
Criminal Defense Attorney
Why don't you ask the attorney?
The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
Very few personal injury attorneys handle the property damage portion of a collision claim for two primary reasons:
(a) there are no means to collect an attorneys' fee, or the fee to be collected is too small for the time committment involved; and/or
(b) they do not know how to make a difference.
If your vehicle was only 4-5 months old and sustained structural damage, you likely ** do ** have a claim for "diminished value": the reduction in fair market value of your vehicle due to the collision even assuming the repairs restore the vehicle to its pre-loss condition as nearly as humanly possible. A body shop is not the factory - paint and welding processes are not the same; bent metal on panels and frame members, once straightened, is not as strong as when it was cast and originally installed. An attorney experienced in handling such claims can guide you to the proper experts and make such a claim persuasively. You also arguably have the right to require your shop to use only OEM parts and to avoid cutting corners. That often requires a fight with the insurance company.
Bernard's Advanced Collision in Amarillo is an outstanding resource for pre-loss condition repairs and guidance about property claims. You can also talk to Darrell Harber, who hosts "CrashTalk," for information about resources in your area.
Personal Injury Lawyer
A lot of lazy personal injury lawyers don't want to be bothered with handling the damage to your vehicle. Tell you lawyer that you will pull the injury case from him and switch lawyers if he won't handle it. You can switch lawyers at any time.
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Personal Injury Lawyer
It is not uncommon for a car accident lawyer to have the property damage portion of the claim handled between the client and the adjuster personally. This is not necessarily because the lawyer is "lazy." Rather, this part of the claim is usually handled without much trouble. Likewise, involving the lawyer probably will not net you much, if any, additional benefit, and could delay repair or resolution of the property damage claim.
I normally tell my clients to go ahead and deal with the adjuster directly regarding the property damage and rental car. But I also tell my clients not to discuss the events surrounding the accident or the injuries with anyone else but me.
However, I also tell my clients that, if they do have any trouble, to call me and I will check into the matter for them. Your lawyer should extend you the same courtesy. When it is necessary, it is very routine for car accident lawyers to help their clients with the property damage portion of the claim. This is a courtesy that many lawyers extend to the client especially since these matters are relatively easy to resolve compared to the bodily injury claim.
If your lawyer is refusing to help you with that portion of the claim, I would review the terms of your contract that you signed when you hired the lawyer. If your contract states that the lawyer is supposed to represent you for "any and all claims" arising from your accident (or some other similar language), then I would bring that matter to your lawyer's attention. Please be aware, however, that if you try to hold your lawyer's feet to the fire, he/she might try to enforce a fee thereby leaving you short on the property damage claim.
I would bring these matters up to your lawyer. If your lawyer still refuses to help you with the property damage, you might want to consider changing lawyers.