Property Damage Settlement: Coincidence in Timing? Doubtful

If you ever been in an auto accident in North Carolina or anywhere for that matter, you most likely got the chance to resolve the property damage part of your insurance claim before the bodily injury portion. This is fairly common given that your car doesn’t require ongoing care, additional diagnoses and time after an accident.

For this reason, insurance adjusters have a much easier job when determining loss value on your vehicle. Check it out, assess the damage, likelihood and costs of repair, and check some market indicators. Batta bing batta boom!

During this time if your vehicle is inoperable you most likely have been driving a rental car provided by the at-fault driver’s insurance company until your property damage claim can be resolved. So here you are with a rental car that the insurance adjuster has “generously” provided for you. When you pick up the rental car, you assume that you’ll have the rental car until you are put in another vehicle. I consider this the honeymoon phase of the adjuster—injured person relationship. What most people don’t discover until a week or so is that the rental car needs to be returned. At that point, the adjuster relies on a clause in the insured’s policy that limits the amount of days it will pay for a rental car.

Some companies offer the car for seven days. Generally, how this plays out is rotten. About day six the adjuster may contact you and inform you of a possible settlement offer for your property damage. Also, lets you know that this is an offer and you should not feel pressured to accept it. Oh, and last thing—we need you to return the rental car tomorrow—the time allowed for us to pay is up.

Wait! This offer to replace the car wouldn’t even pay for half of the car that I had. Well, probably not. The timing is just too convenient for insurance companies and is passively coerces an injured party to accept a settlement for fear of not having a way to go.

Now that the honeymoon phase is over, the cloak of congeniality is lifted and the injured party is able to discern what the experience will be like to handle the bodily injury claim directly without a North Carolina personal injury attorney.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients are protected from tactics like this by the insurance companies. If you have had it with the insurance company and need to be represented, give us a call at 877-333-1000. You can even check out our website, to request a free case evaluation.