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Property Damage, Auto Repair, Total Loss & Car Rental

Is it true that you will help me with my property damage and PIP medical claim for free?

Who is going to pay your property damage?

Typically the insurance company for the person who caused your Oregon Traffic Accident will pay to repair or replace your car. You can choose to have your insurance pay to repair or replace your car if you have collision coverage, however, you will have to pay your deductible. The insurance company may insist that you take your car to the repair shop they like to work with. Oregon law allows you to take your car to a shop of your choice for the repairs. The insurance company may ask that you take your car to a shop for an estimate, this is allowed, but they cannot force you to have your car repaired there. If we decide to take your injury case, then we will help with this for free.

Which insurance company should I work with to get my car repaired?

If the other person in a crash is at fault, then you can file a claim with his or her insurance company. However, the other insurance company has the right to investigate the accident facts and accept or deny responsibility. If the other insurance company is denying responsibility and you have comprehensive coverage, then you use your company. You will have to pay your deductible and we will get this back when we win your case.

Who decides if your car is totaled?

The insurance company may declare your car a total loss. Usually, this is because the cost of repair is impractical. The insurance company must give you a written notice that explains why they think your car is a total loss, including how vehicle values are determined and what to do if you disagree with an insurer's offer. If your car was totaled you are entitled to the fair market value of your car from the insurance company. You can negotiate this value. If we decide to take your injury case, then we will help with this for free.

How do you prove that your car is worth more than what the insurance company is offering?

First, review the reports the insurance company used to determine the value of your vehicle and make sure all the options on your vehicle are listed. The cars they compared your car with should be the same make, model, year, mileage and have all the same options. If they miss something, then write the insurance company and have them correct any differences, such as year, make, miles, equipment, and condition.

Second, make sure the comparable vehicles listed are in your area. If not, then write the insurance company and make them show you comparable cars from the Portland Metro area.

Third, check the local newspaper or the Internet for private-party and dealership sales for cars that compare closely with your car. Websites include Make sure the vehicles are comparable (make, model, mileage, options). Call the sellers to find out the cash price of the comparable vehicle. The insurance company will not pay the advertised price. Document who you called, the date, and the response. Attach this to the advertisements and send copies to the insurance company. Demand that they pay a fair amount based upon your investigation.

Fourth, if they still refuse to offer a fair price you can hire an appraiser. Insurance companies must reimburse you for reasonable appraisal costs if the final appraised value of your vehicle is higher than the company's last offer.

What can you do if you need a new car right away and the insurance company's offer is too low?

If you and the insurance company cannot agree on your vehicle's value, and you agree to transfer ownership of your vehicle to the insurance company, then the insurance company must pay you the amount that is not in dispute. We can then include the disputed amount as part of your personal injury claim.

Who pays the storage fees?

The insurance company pays the storage fees up to the day it makes a reasonable offer. If you do not accept the offer, you may be responsible for the fees from that time forward.

Who pays for a rental car?

If your insurance policy covers a rental car, then your insurance agent or claims representative will set this up for you. If the other insurance company is accepting fault for the accident and you can't drive your vehicle, then they must pay you for loss of use. This payment is for the reasonable length of time it takes to determine if the vehicle is a total loss. They typically pay for the rental from the date of the accident until one or two days after the company makes an offer on the totaled vehicle.

Tip: Get the name of the person who authorizes the rental vehicle. Ask for a letter or email with the authorization.

What about Diminished Value?

If your car was significantly damaged and repaired you know that it is just not the same as it was before you were hit. You may also find that your car isn't worth as much as it was before the accident even if the repairs were done expertly. We can help by presenting a diminution in value claim to the insurance company. By working with experienced appraisers we thoroughly document the damage and show that the market will not value your car the same as before the accident.

The Law Offices of Clayton H. Morrison are Oregon personal injury attorneys who represent people injured in car accidents throughout Southwest Portland and its surrounding areas, including, Beaverton Aloha, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Lake Oswego, Scappoose, Banks, North Plains, Vernonia, Yamhill, Gaston, Carlton, McMinnville, Sheridan, Wilsonville, Woodburn, Kaiser, Salem, Monmouth,, Tillamook, Cannon Beach, and Astoria.