QUESTION: How Long Will it Take to Get My Car Fixed after a Utah Car Accident?
ANSWER: At Least One Month. Here’s why.
PROPERTY DAMAGE TIME LINE FOR UTAH CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES:
(1) Huge Insurance Companies. Remember, insurance companies are huge. They are slow and each claims adjuster could have 50 claims on their plate at anytime. One claims adjuster told this author that she handled 100 plus, and your property damage claim is not the only claim the adjuster has to work on. As a result, even with your personal injury attorney pushing your car accident case, you’ll probably be waiting an average of 30 days or more.
(2) Adjuster Interview. The insurance adjuster has to get a recorded interview to determine who is at fault. If you have collision, “full coverage” on your car, your own insurance company will start the process of valuing it, or fixing it. This happens regardless of who is at fault. If you do not have “full coverage” then the two insurance companies that represent the two people in the car collision must make a determination on who was at fault for the accident. After this determination, the at-fault insurance carrier will start valuing your car damage. In the meanwhile, you will be without a car, and most likely without a rental car, unless you are willing to pay for it. Determining the at-fault party can take between 7 to 30 days.
(3) Police Report. The insurance adjuster has to get the police report. I have rarely seen a law enforcement agency turn around police reports in less than 7 days when requesting by mail. Police reports are often not available until at least 10 days after the collision. If you pick up the police report in person, you sometimes can get it faster. Insurance companies often will not make fault determinations until they receive the police report. Obtaining the police report can be another reason why getting back a working car, or reimbursement can be delayed.
(4) Car Inspection. Often, the at-fault insurance company will want to send an inspector out to review and photograph the car’s damage in order to assess fault and to value the car. Getting a warm blooded insurance employee out to the wrecking yard takes time. It is important to encourage the insurance carrier to get a field adjuster out to your damaged vehicle as soon as possible.
(5) Valuation. Assuming you are not at fault, the other party’s Utah insurance adjuster must now take the time to value the damage to your car; including taking vehicle model, year, parts, and odometer into consideration. If they declare the car is totaled, they most likely will send you a check at their determined valuation. However, valuation does not occur until fault is determined. Fault is not determined until the police report and interviews are completed.
(6) Low Balling. Often, the injured party in a Utah car accident will dispute the valuation of their car by the insurance company. These back and forth negotiations take time, further increasing your time without a car. Often, the insurance company will refuse to pay for a rental car, and if they do it may not be for as long as needed. They may also refuse to pay when you can’t afford to get your car out of the wrecking yard, where it is most likely accruing a daily fee.
GET HELP WITH YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE
Most personal injury attorneys will not handle the property damage side of a personal injury claim. Attorney Jacob S. Gunter can handle the property damage claim for the client in addition to helping them make a personal injury claim.
Call attorney Jacob S. Gunter at (801) 373-6345 for a free consultation today.