If you were injured, you should retain an attorney immediately. If the incident only involves property damage, the law provides that the at fault driver (through their insurance carrier) is responsible for the lesser of the cost of repair or the fair market value. Under California law, you are NOT obligated to take your car to a body shop "recommended" by the insurance company(ies) and are allowed to take it to the shop of your choice. I would: (1) report the claim to your insurance company -- and probably submit the claim through them if you have collision coverage; (2) open a claim with the at fault driver's insurance carrier; and (3) get at least 2-3 estimates of repair from reputable body shops. Make sure they put it up on a lift to determine if there is any frame damage. If the cost of repair is more than the car is worth, they will pay "fair market value" for the car and you need to make sure to review carefully the documentation upon which they rely to determine this value. If the car is financed, you should check to see if you have "gap insurance" that would cover any difference between fair market value and what you owe on the car. Hope this helps!
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.
If the other party accepted liability for the accident, the insurance carrier will offer you a settlement for the actual cash value of your car. They have to give you documents showing how they have reached the value they are offering. If you are not in agreement you may dispute it and request a different amount. You may also choose to keep the car and receive a reduced value. Good luck.
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.
First, if you are injured you should contact a California injury lawyer. Second when it comes to the value of the vehicle, it is a good idea to look through newspapers or online services to find other "like" vehicles. The insurance company will complete an evaluation that will explain their offer. It is important to ask for a copy of this evaluation. You may want to get an estimate from the at fault insurance company as well as your insurance company. Many times your own insurance company will make a better offer on the total loss. Look on the evaluation for any "extras" that your vehicle may have that the comparable vehicles do not have. Also, make sure tax, license fees, etc are included. It is always a good idea to look at the evaluation in terms of what vehicles your vehicle is being compared to as well. You may also be entitled to money for a rental vehicle or loss of use. Each state is different and has different laws. Your case sounds like one where it is best to have a free consultation from a lawyer. We are in Arizona but there are many injury lawyers in California who charge a contingency fee agreement and may be able to help you. You may look to some of the lawyers who answer questions on this site but I would suggest only calling California lawyers for the circumstances of your claim.
Call The Husband And Wife Law Team for help and answers to all your questions. What lawyers have to say: Any answers to questions are not to be considered legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship.
If you are not injured, get three estimates and you can do one online by using kelly blue book at KBB.com Armed with this information , you can negotiate a better price for your car. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. El Abogado de Accidentes de Autos provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. El abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales practices in Antioch, Okland, Hayward, Martinez, Richmond, San Francisco and san Rafael. El abogado de accidentes y lesiones is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation.
Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos y Lesiones Personales de Acidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, y Abogado de Acidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, y California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.