– We’re with John Kelly. John is a personal injury attorney in Phoenix, Arizona, and he’s agreed to answer an online question that was posted. This one, specifically how to negotiate a better car accident insurance claim check.
With that said, John, let’s go into the question that was posted. This question is from Emily. Emily says, “Hello John. “I’m in the process of requesting a claim check “for a small car accident I was in two weeks ago. “It was the other person’s fault. “I do have a police report. “Can you provide me with any tips or advice “on what I can do to negotiate more money “from the insurance company? “Also, is there anything you could recommend “to speed up the process? “Thank you.” – Okay. So Emily’s question is a pretty common question.
She just wants to know what she needs to do after a small accident. What wasn’t addressed there with Emily is whether she was injured or not, but it sounds like she probably has a little property damage. So I’ll just kind of go over both. One that I don’t talk about a lot, which is something that actually people want to address right away, always, is the property damage, their vehicle, how to get it fixed, if it’s at the tow yard, those kind of things always bother people because they wanna get in a vehicle so that they sometimes can get treatment too. One of the things that people need to be aware of is that there’s actually typically two adjusters that are gonna handle their claim.
One’s a property damage adjuster and the other one’s their bodily injury adjuster, and that’s on both sides for the accident. So one of the things that she can do right away is notify her insurance company that there was an accident, make sure that they’re aware. She can speak directly with the adverse insurance company, third party insurance, if she has that information. At the accident, she wants to make sure that she gets the other party’s insurance company information. If the police come, which I always recommend that Emily would call the police, they’ll typically get the insurance information for her and give her what we call an accident exchange form.
That will have the information about the other party, their insurance company, a contact number. So she can call that contact number and open up a claim with them, and let them know that there was an accident. There is a little warning here. She doesn’t necessarily wanna talk to them about her injuries, the extent of them, that kind of thing, because that could later be used against her.
\If she tells them that, “My shoulder hurts a little bit, but I think it’s fine,” and then later finds out that she had a torn tendon in her shoulder, that could potentially cause some issues later on. I would recommend that they only deal with the property damage at this point. Depending on her damage to her car, if it’s a total loss, which it doesn’t sound like it is, but if it is, the insurance company would have to go out there, evaluate it, and determine what the value of that vehicle is, and write her a check for that amount.
Now, if it’s just damage, the insurance companies on her side and the other side might want her to go and get a body shop to evaluate what it is that would take to fix the car, and that’s fine.
She should be aware, though, sometimes the insurance companies have their own body shops that like to minimize the cost that they charge so that the insurance company doesn’t have to pay out more. So she might wanna find her own body shop that she trusts and take it to that person to get an opinion. Oftentimes, independent body shops will use new parts to make sure that they tell the insurance company exactly what needs to happen there.
She also should take good photos of the car and be aware that she also has what we call a diminished value claim. A diminished value claim means that if she gets that car repaired and later, sells it, the person who buys that’s gonna know that that car was in an accident. There’s all sorts of ways people can find that out.
They’re not gonna wanna pay as much for that vehicle as a car that hasn’t been in an accident. So she has a claim there for what we call diminished value, and she needs to make that claim or assert that and say that I need money to compensate me for the diminished value of this vehicle. Another note is the insurance company should send her a report, if she asks for it, that will list all the other vehicles that they have seen in the area that have the same make, model, and it helps determine what the value of her vehicle is, and that’s typically with a car that’s totaled, but that’s something that she wants to request too.
With the property damage, that’s what she needs to know right off the bat. With her bodily injury, there’s gonna be another adjuster. I would recommend that she doesn’t speak with them. She can talk to her own insurance company and let them know she was in an accident, that she was injured, probably doesn’t wanna go into a lot of details with that at this point, but from the adverse company, she just needs to make sure she gets all those medical records that she has and sends them to ’em along with taking good notes about how this injury is affecting her life.
A lot of attorneys will just put together information about the medical records, send that off to the other insurance company. They don’t ever tell the story, and there’s always a story behind it that actually includes a lot more information about how this person has been affected, and what they’ve gone through because of the accident. Have they missed work? Have they lost income because of that? Were they on their way to the airport to go to a wedding and then missed the wedding?
That’s information that, people forget that there is a human side to this, and that the insurance companies, you can get them to budge on their offers based on that. Those are just some ideas. There’s a lot of information to go over and I can’t cover it all. So if anyone such as Emily has these kind of issues, they just want to talk to an attorney, I’d be happy to speak with them. They can call my firm. It’s the Kelly Law Team at 602-283-4122. No pressure tactics.
If they need me, my service, moving forward, I’m happy to help ’em with that. I’m always happy to just consult them and let them know what they need to know moving forward. – Excellent. Thanks for your time, John. – [John] Thank you.