Tips for Negotiating a Car Damage Claim After a Crash

Bodily injuries usually form a significant part of auto accident claims. However, the law may entitle you to compensation for other types of auto accident losses, including car damages. Below are some tips to help you get fair compensation for your damaged car.

Request the Adjuster’s Appraisal Report

The insurance company will generally use its adjuster to value the car. The adjuster will value the car and prepare a valuation report for their employer. You have a right to the valuation report. Request the report and scrutinize it for inaccuracies. Use the inaccuracies to negotiate fair compensation.

Say the valuation report doesn’t mention the custom wheels you installed a few weeks before the accident. Point out the omission to the adjuster to include the wheels’ value in the valuation report.

Quote the Blue Book Value

You can also use automobile value/price books to support your claim. The Kelly Blue Book, or just Blue Book, is one of the most common resources. The Kelly Blue Book relies on multiple data sets, such as:

  • Dealership prices of cars
  • Auction prices of cars
  • The trade-in value of cars
  • Price fluctuations by season
  • Automobile market trends
  • Price fluctuation by location

The Kelly Blue Book is not the last authority on car prices. However, it is a good and reliable source of car prices.

Conduct Independent Research

You can also conduct your own independent research for the value of the car. Just go online and research cars for sale within your area. Filter your search results to match your car as closely as possible. Show the adjuster the results during the negotiations.

Order Professional Appraisal

Independent research is good, but it might not be as authoritative as professional valuation. A professional valuation can help, especially if your car is relatively expensive or the adjuster’s offer is terribly low.

Include Appraisals for Options

Optional features increase the value of the car. Itemize every optional feature in your car to get an accurate appraisal. Some of the options that increase car values include:

  • Leather seats
  • Sunroofs
  • Top-of-the-line audio systems
  • Remember to include both the options that came with the car and any aftermarket installations.

Show Pre-crash Pictures

In addition to your car’s technical features, the car’s cosmetic condition also affects its value. A clean and well-kept car will fetch a higher price than a car with paint scratches, torn interior, or dents. The best way to prove the cosmetic attributes of your car is to show pre-crash pictures. Pictures as near as possible to the date of the crash are the best.

Understand the Law

You should also understand state laws that govern auto accident claims. For example, just like many states, Louisiana allows diminished value claims. The diminished value claim compensates you for the value that your car loses simply for being in an accident. However, you might not get diminished value compensation if you don’t know about it.

Consider a Compromise

Auto accident lawyers understand how to value auto accident claims. An auto accident lawyer will include all losses, including property damages, in the demand letter. The Wenck Firm has the legal skills and experience to appraise your case and help you pursue the right compensation. Contact us for a free consultation as the first step in your claim process.

This Blog/Web Site is made available by The Wenck Firm, LLC, for educational purposes.  It provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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