Before you accept a vehicle damage settlement from an insurance company, consider these things:
1. If your vehicle can be repaired, there are not nearly the issues to deal with as you will encounter if your vehicle is a total loss. You need to decide where you want your vehicle repaired and you need to see if the insurance company, or the body shop you have selected, will arrange a rental vehicle for you. Be aware that, typically, an insurance company will only allow you a day or two of rental over the time that it take to physically repair your vehicle.
2. The Courts in Ohio do NOT uniformly recognize claims for diminution in value (your vehicle being worth less than it was before the accident because there is now a listing on Carfax or a similar service). Of the eighty eight counties in Ohio, the Courts of Appeals governing seven of them have allowed claims for diminution in value: Franklin, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Green, Miami, and Montgomery. If your accident does not occur in one of those counties, it is unlikely that you will be able to receive this type of compensation.
3. The definition of a total loss is simply that it would cost more to repair your vehicle than it is worth. Insurance companies cannot be required to pay to repair your vehicle if the cost of repairs exceeds the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. Should your vehicle be totalled in an accident, the first consideration is whether or not there is a loan on the vehicle. If there is, that loan must be paid off first because the insurance company will not make a payment on a total loss unless it receives the vehicle with a clear title so it can turn around and sell the vehicle for its salvage value. In that situation, the insurance company will pay the finance company first and any excess will be paid to the vehicle’s titled owner. However, if the loan amount is greater than the ACV, the insurance company may see if the lienholder will agree to accept the amount of the insurance payment as full payment and release the title, or they will wait until you have paid the loan down to the point that the ACV payment pays off the loan so they can receive the title.
If you have any questions about these items or any other matter related to your car accident, please contact us for a free and confidential consultation with one of our highly experienced Ohio car accident attorneys.
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