After the trauma of an accident, there are several key steps to take to maximize the total amount of damages compensation. The most important step, of course, is getting medical attention, which helps quantify damages calculated for pain and suffering. Sometimes while you’re still working on fixing your own mind and body, unfortunately, you also need car repairs. I help clients work with insurance companies every day, and one of the last things you want to do is leave the vehicle “inspection” to an insurance adjuster.
What is the Importance of a Vehicle Inspection?
Vehicle inspections are an essential part of filing an insurance claim. The same way visiting a doctor will help quantify the damages for your personal injury, an inspection will help quantify the extent of damages to the vehicle. It’s common for insurance companies to conduct their own vehicle inspection, or just ask for photographs, but their goal is to pay as little as possible for the claim. It’s just business for them. A working car means a lot more to the average person though, so it’s always advisable to get a second opinion through a 3rd party inspection.
Types of Inspections
There are different ways that insurance companies accept inspections for a claim. A photo inspection – which isn’t preferable, but more on that later – and a body shop inspection. When they say a “picture is worth a thousand words,” after an accident, “clear and impartial” are not how I would describe a vehicle inspection with pictures alone. If the insurance company asks for photos, it’s advisable to take photos, and video so that they get a clear view of the damages. Most people don’t take daily photos of their cars either, so it’s possible that the insurance company will interpret certain dents and scrapes to be normal wear and tear, and refuse to pay for them. It’s convenient, but it doesn’t provide full context.
On the other hand, going to a licensed mechanic or body shop to have them take a look at the damage will provide more than a surface-level view. The hope is that a mechanic will give a more accurate account of the damages, find hidden damage that a layperson might miss, or find something that can’t be captured in a photo or video. Their licensed opinion can help strengthen your claim and increase your chances of a fair settlement. Because your business is important to them, they’re also likely to give you a detailed estimate and communicate the damages to the insurance company or your attorney.
Accidents happen every day, but that doesn’t mean that you should be held responsible for the negligence of others. Your ability to drive a safe and functional vehicle should not be impeded by the goals of an insurance company trying to avoid payment. Taking photos or leaving an inspection in the hands of a corporate insurance adjuster may not be in your best interest. Working with an attorney who is empathetic and has a professional network that is proven to help assist you with your claim will help improve your chances of a successful settlement. For a consultation, reach out to the firm of Ashley Armstrong at 850-977-3229.
The Law Office of Attorney Ashley M. Armstrong, PLLC
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