Property Damage Settlement: Coincidence in Timing? Doubtful
Posted on August 2013
If you have ever been in an auto accident in North Carolina, or anywhere for that matter, you most likely were given 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. They can check it out, assess the damage, the 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. Now, 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 later is that the rental car needs to be returned. At that point, the adjuster relies on a clause in the insured’s policy that puts a limit on the number of days it will pay for a rental car.
Some companies offer the car for seven days. Generally, this plays out rotten. At about day six the adjuster may contact you and inform you of a possible settlement offer for your property damage. They also let 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.
But wait! This offer to replace your car won’t even pay for half of the car that I had. Well, probably not. The timing is just too convenient for insurance companies. They passively coerce 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 DeMayo Law Offices, 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.