Many of our clients who are injured in a car wrecks in Oregon and Washington have to first deal with fixing or replacing their car. This is known as the property damage claim. Here are a few pointers.
First, if your car is repairable, you are entitled to the cost of repairing the car. In some cases, even after the car is repaired, and may still not be worth what it was prior to the collision. You may have an additional claim for the difference in the value of the car from before the accident. This is often referred to as a “diminished value claim.”
While your cars being repaired, or during the time it takes to resolve a total loss claim, you are entitled to be compensated for the loss of the use of the vehicle. In Oregon, the amount of money to cover the loss of use of the vehicles equal to what it would cost to rent a similar vehicle. Many insurance companies will authorize a rental during the repair process, or during the time it takes to determine whether your car is a “total loss.”
When a car is “totaled,” this means that the cost of repair is too close to the fair market value of the car. In other words, it doesn’t make sense to fix a car if the cost of repair is almost the same as the car’s value. If this happens, you have a claim for the fair market value of the car at the time of the wreck. The fair market value is what a willing buyer would have paid a willing seller for your car immediately prior to the collision. Many insurance companies use database services to determine fair market value, and sometimes they are accurate, but many times not.
If you have been injured in a car wreck in Washington or Oregon, and you have questions about property damage, we are here to help. We have offices in Beaverton and Astoria, and can meet with you at your convenience. Call us at 503-325-8600 with any questions.