Questions from the Average Joe: Auto Accident VII

by NPHM | September 24th, 2020

Q: I was in an accident while moving to a new home. In addition to the damage to my vehicle and my injuries, many of my belongings were destroyed. Will the other driver’s insurance pay for the things I lost?

A: Under most insurance policies, the total value of damaged property should be covered following an accident. This includes car seats, cell phones, and other personal belongings that may have been in your vehicle. If you were in the process of moving, this may include a significant amount of personal property. Though technically covered, it can be hard to get an insurance company to pay for personal property. It is hard to prove that property that would not typically be in a vehicle was in the vehicle at the time of the accident and sustained the claimed damage. Because of this, it is important that you document every piece of damaged property as soon as possible following the accident—if possible, the best way to do this would include pictures of the property in the vehicle shortly after the accident.

It is always a good idea to document physical damage following an accident. When a claim may include property not typically associated with auto accidents, taking pictures of the property and the damage is even more important. If you were in an auto accident and aren’t sure how to deal with the insurance company, an experienced auto accident attorney can help ensure that you receive every part of the compensation to which you are entitled.

Q: I was a passenger during an accident and both the driver and I were hurt. The driver settled for his injuries a few days after the accident, but I haven’t even received an offer. How long do I have to wait?

A: Following an accident, an insurance company’s first concern is always ending the claim for as little money as possible. It is likely your driver took an offer for less than he may have deserved by accepting it so quickly; taking longer for your claim is not necessarily a bad thing. Generally, even straightforward injury claims can take over a year to resolve. If you are undergoing physical therapy for your injuries or have a surgery pending, it is in your best interest to wait until you’ve finished all your treatments before you settle a claim.

To get the full value of your claim, you need to know how much your treatment cost and the full scope of your pain and suffering. Though it might be tempting to settle quickly and receive payment, you could end up with unforeseen expenses if you accept an offer before fully knowing how hurt you were in the accident. If you were involved in an auto accident, it is in your best interest to discuss your claim with an experienced auto accident attorney who can properly evaluate your claim and ensure that you receive as much as you are entitled to from the insurance company. Though it may take longer than you’d prefer, the outcome is always better if you can wait through the whole process to receive an acceptable offer that fairly compensates you for your injury.

Q: I don’t like the offer the insurance company made when they decided to total my car. What can I do about it?

A: Unfortunately, given the way insurance contracts are written, there isn’t much that can be done to get significantly more once an insurance adjuster determines that your car is a total loss. Vehicles are generally insured up to their fair market value.

That said, you don’t have to take the first offer—an honest conversation about what you’re willing to accept with an adjuster may work to increase the offer, even a little bit. If the final offer is unacceptable, it may be time to consider contacting an attorney.

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Headshot of Zachary Belcher, Intake Attorney at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthyZachary Belcher joined Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and ensures that every individual who contacts the firm receives outstanding service and support throughout the intake process.

Zack graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2015 and has handled more than 500 injury cases for clients injured in automobile accidents. He understands the stressful and life-altering situations clients face before seeking a personal injury attorney.

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Don’t let an auto accident consume your life. Let our Cleveland auto accident attorneys do the heavy lifting and purse the compensation you are owed for your injuries. Call us today at (216) 621 – 2300 or complete a free initial consultation form online.