The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 30, 797 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2009. Motor vehicle crashes are an inevitable fact of driving on the highways and other road systems. Damages to vehicles involved in crashes can cause a financial hardship if you are not adequately insured. If you were involved in an automobile accident contact an experienced Seattle property damage attorney today at Wattel & York. Our attorneys serve Seattle, Tacoma, and all of Washington. Call us today at 877-572-4143.
Automobile accident claims are divided into two distinct parts. The largest, and most important, is the bodily injury damages suffered by the injured person. They involve both economic damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. The other part of the claim is for property damage. If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident there are some steps that you should take to insure that your property damage claim is handled speedily and that your interests are protected. With the help of the attorneys at Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law, a Seattle law firm experienced and knowledgeable in handling auto accident cases, you may be able to recover the full amount of your damages. Please call our office today at 877-572-4143 for more information and to schedule a free legal consultation.
It is important to know that your insurance policy is actually a legally binding contract with specific terms and conditions governing you and the insurer. As it relates to property damage, there are two important parts of the insurance contract – liability coverage and collision coverage (damage to your automobile).
Liability insurance is the portion of the policy that covers the personal injury and property damage to other parties that result from an accident deemed to be your fault. If you are involved in an accident that is your fault, your insurer promises the other party’s personal injuries and property damage will be reimbursed by your liability coverage on your behalf or to defend you (the policy holder).
Collision coverage is additional coverage and must be purchased separately. This coverage is typically mandatory if there is a loan on the vehicle or if it is a lease. Collision insurance covers repairs to your vehicle if it is damaged by hitting another object or vehicle regardless of fault. Typically there is a deductible and your deductible is the amount of the repair damage you will have to pay before your insurance takes over. Collision coverage can provide some peace of mind if you are involved in an accident.
Property damage is the issue that arises first when one is involved in an automobile accident and it is often most frustrating. When liability is reasonably clear, the Washington Unfair Claims Practices Act requires the liability insurer of the at fault motorist to promptly compensate the claimant for property damage. That is the preferred method of handling property damage as it does not involve the payment of a deductible, which is the case when the claimant makes the claim under their own insurance policy. Property damage claims are resolved in one of two ways; either your car can be repaired or it is a total loss – meaning that the cost of the repair exceeds the actual value of the vehicle.
Under the law you have the right to have your car repaired and to be compensated for the fair market value of the car if it is totaled. If you are not at fault for the auto accident, you have the right to a rental car paid by the liability insurer while your vehicle is being repaired and you have the right to be compensated for any loss in value due to the vehicle being in a collision. You are also entitled to have your vehicle inspected by a body shop of your choice who will issue an estimate. A property damage adjuster for the at-fault motorist’s liability insurer also will inspect the damage and make an estimate as well. An agreement between the two will then be made. Knowing your legal rights is imperative to ensuring you get everything you are entitled to. Our experienced property damage attorneys at Wattel & York, Attorneys at Law are devoted to assisting you seek the legal representation you deserve. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation at 877-572-4143.