If you find yourself in an auto accident in Philadelphia, you may not need a lawyer. Generally speaking, if there isn’t any property damage or injuries, handling the case yourself may be the right thing to do. This will depend on whether or not the insurance carrier for the other driver admits responsibility.
If you were rear-ended, the insurance carrier for the other driver is going to be responsible to pay for your property damage, and this includes repairing your vehicle and/or paying you the fair market value of your vehicle. It may also include the cost of a rental car and possibly other incidental damages. Practically speaking, why pay a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer a large hourly rate or percentage of your property damage claim if you can do it yourself? If it’s going to cost $4000 to fix your car and a personal injury lawyer takes 33% of that, how are you going you get your car fixed?
If you find yourself with a property-damage-only claim, we provide a list of some of the most common issues people have faced:
- Obtaining a rental car when you are not at fault. If you are having a hard time obtaining a rental car through the other driver’s insurance company even though you aren’t at fault, it could be because the other driver still has not given their version of the accident. Even in a straightforward case where it is obviously the other driver’s fault, their insurance company is responsible for hearing their side of the story. If the company is not providing a rental car to you fast enough, the fastest way to obtain a rental would be to either use your own insurance company, if your policy covers rentals, or pay out of pocket. After the other driver gives their version of the story and liability gets accepted, you can get reimbursed.
- Choosing which shop to use for repairs. Although it is more convenient and a lot quicker to get your car repaired at a shop that the insurance company has already approved of, it is not your only option. You have the right to choose the mechanic you feel will work best for you. The only exception is that the insurance company will only cover the amount they feel is accurate with the damages. In order to get any additional work done that your mechanic feels is necessary, you must first get approval from the insurance company.
- Storage charges. In some situations, the driver of the vehicle could be subjected to paying for storage charges while the insurance company assesses whether or not they are liable for the damage done to your property. At this point you have two options: figure out whether or not the insurance company is willing to remove your vehicle from the tow lot so the disabled vehicle will not accrue any additional charges, or if you have the ability to do so, pay off any additional charges that are accrued from the storage of your vehicle.
- Dealing with a car financing company. In order for a company to pay for the salvage value on a totaled vehicle, they must first get the title of the car transferred into their name. The insurance company will need to figure out the amount outstanding on the car loan and compensate the financial company for what is still owed on the current car loan. Once this is calculated, the finance company will be sent a check for the interest still owed and after that you will be compensated with whatever is left over.
- How long am I entitled to keep the rental car? As long as everything goes smoothly you are entitled to stay in your rental car until your vehicle is finished being repaired or you are compensated for your totaled vehicle. Once you receive a check for your totaled vehicle, you are expected to purchase a replacement vehicle. If it is deemed necessary, the insurance company might issue you an extension with the rental vehicle.
If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to represent yourself after a car accident, keep in mind, consulting with our experienced lawyers is free! Call today at 215-332-0300.