Legal Issues with auto body damage in an accident

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Legal Issues with auto body damage in an accident

I was hit from behind, causing $7300 damage – part of which is frame damage. The insurance co has decided to fix the car, what recourse do I have? Do I have to accept the decision and is my car now devalued?

Asked on June 10, 2009 under Accident Law, Alabama

Answers:

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Typically insurance companies will "total" a vehicle if it would cost more to repair than to replace it.  If that is not the case, and it's a close call, the insurance company can basically do what it wants, but you do have some recourse.  Gather documentation to support what you believe the value of your car is and what it will take to fix it and show them that it should be a total loss if that's what you believe. You also have the option of making use of the Appraisal Clause in your policy if you believe your car is worth less than (or more than) the insurance company says.  It provides that you and your insurer may each hire an appraiser to determine the value of the vehicle.  If the two appraisers agree, it's settled.  If not, a third (referee) appraiser is hired to help reach the decision.  While it is true that a vehicle with frame damage can devalue the car, fram damage can also be repaired, so you might want to also get the opinions of a few body work professionals on this matter.


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