What to do If Your Car Has Been Damaged in a Massachusetts Auto Accident
Many people are involved in car accidents in Massachusetts. Following such accidents, there is usually damage done to the vehicles involved in the accident. At times, the vehicles may deemed a "total loss." I think it is important for my readers to know what to do to get fair value for their car after their Massachusetts auto accident.
Jonathan G. Stein, a personal injury attorney in California, who I have referenced many times on this blog, was kind enough to share with me "Ten Steps to Determining Fair Market Value of Your Car." I think this list is a good resource as it explains how you can get the fair market value of your car through the relevant insurance company, following your auto accident. And please visit attorney Stein’s Blog, calpiblog, as attorney Stein has a wealth of information about personal injury and insurance law on his blog.
Here is attorney Stein’s "Ten Steps to Determining Fair Market Value of Your Car"
10 STEPS TO DETERMINING FAIR MARKET VALUE OF YOUR CAR
1. KNOW THE OPTIONS ON THE CAR
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. I ask people what they have on their car and they are not sure. You have to know what options you have because this effects the value of the vehicle significantly.
2. BE HONEST ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE CAR
Everyone thinks his/her car is in excellent condition. But, we all know that some cars are in better condition than others. Vehicle condition and mileage affect the value of your vehicle and being honest about it helps in negotiations.
3. CHECK FOR RECENT WORK DONE ON THE CAR
If you have recently added tires, brakes, new rims, or aftermarket parts, this will affect the value of your vehicle. Look to see if you had work done on the car.
4. OBTAIN YOUR OWN COMPARABLE VEHICLE LIST
Use websites like www.cars.com and your local newspaper for ads for comparable cars.
5. CALL DEALERS FOR PRICES
Some cars will have plenty of for sale ads. However, other cars may not. If you cannot find 5 to 10 ads for your car, call a few dealers, including used car dealers, and ask them for a quote. You may also want to get it in writing.
6. GET THE INSURANCE COMPANIES REPORT AND READ IT!!!!
The insurance company must give you the report. But, having it and reviewing it are two different things. You need to get the report and read it closely.
7. COMPARE YOUR NUMBERS TO THEIR NUMBERS
Once you have found 3 to 5 cars for sale that are similar to yours, compare the average price with what the insurance company is offering you. The prices should be close.
8. CHECK FOR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORT
There are many inaccuracies in these reports. Sometimes the model is different, or the engine is different. Look for inaccuracies and tell the insurance company about it.
9. NEGOTIATE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY
The insurance companies offer is not final. Especially if this is your insurance company, their offer is just that – an offer. You do not have to accept it and you can negotiate with the insurance company. Provide them with proof to support your argument.
10. ASK FOR APPRAISAL OR FILE SUIT
If this is your insurance company, you cannot sue them, but rather you have to ask for appraisal. Read your policy and follow the procedures. It can be expensive, however, and if it is only for a few hundred dollars, it may not make sense. If it is the other person’s insurance company, consult with an attorney and then consider a suit, maybe even in small claims court.