Monday, May 21, 2012

The Proprety Damage Predicament

In the most recent traffic accident report prepared by the St. George Police Department, it was reported that in 2008 there were 1,858 traffic accidents. Although a majority of these accidents resulted in no reportable injury or minimal property damage, it is likely that those involved were left dealing with insurance companies in an effort to resolve issues with the damage done to their vehicles. 

Many insurance companies, especially those representing the at-fault driver, can be difficult and downright frustrating to deal with.  Knowing your rights and the regulations that have been put in place will help level the playing field when it comes to negotiating your motor vehicle property loss claims, vehicle repair, and total loss. 

The following is a short synopsis of the detailed regulations that have been put in place by the Utah Insurance Department:

Vehicle Repair Your insurance or the insurance company for the at-fault party cannot require you as the claimant to travel unreasonable distances in order to obtain a repair estimate or to have your vehicle repaired at a specific shop.  In other words, generally speaking, you have the right to take your vehicle to the shop of your choice for repair.  If the insurance company does, in fact, designate a specific shop and it is one in which you are ultimately comfortable with, the insurance company must restore the damaged vehicle to its prior condition at no additional cost to you and within a reasonable amount of time. 

Total Loss If your vehicle is deemed a total loss, the insurance company for the at-fault party may be on the hook to settle your claim.  Any settlement made must be on the basis of the market value or actual cost of a comparable vehicle at the time of the accident.  The insurance company may determine the value of your vehicle by using:
  1. They may obtain the cost of two or more comparable vehicles found in the local area. Note: If there are no comparable vehicles in the area, they may branch out to outlying areas.
  2. If no comparable vehicles are found, they may elect to use one of two or more quotes from qualified dealers in the local area.
  3. They may use any additional source that meets certain criteria as specified in the insurance regulations.  Note: This third option is rarely used.

Please know that the information above is given in generalities and that each case or claim is different.  For that reason, if you have been in an accident, it is highly recommended that you speak with a qualified attorney.  At McMullin Legal Group, pllc, our practice is focused on these issues.  In fact, if you have been injured and you hire us to represent you on your injury claim, we will assist as necessary with any property damage issues, FREE OF CHARGE. 

McMullin Legal Group is a local St. George law firm dedicated to helping those involved in car crashes, motorcycle crashes, dog bites, slip and falls, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death and any other serious injury.  We can be reached at 435.673.9990.

We are . . . In your community and on your side!


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