Rights When Making A Claim For An Auto Accident

Host:                

If you’re involved in an auto accident, you need to know your rights when making a claim for a newer vehicle. Well Katherine Stone from Injury Florida Law is here to explain. How are you?

Katherine:  

Good, how are you?

Host:       

I am well.

Katherine: 

Well this is one of those where I have a story.

Host:   

Storytime with Katherine. Love stories.

Katherine:     

So it’s not too, too often that we have individuals who come to me for representation and they have a brand new vehicle or they have a vehicle that’s less than a year old. That it’s brand new and it less than a year old. For some reason, it just doesn’t happen a lot. I guess that’s a good thing. So one of the first things I ask, especially if there’s talk of the vehicle being totaled, is how much do you still owe on that vehicle because the way that the company’s value what they do a total loss is may not necessarily be what you still owe on that vehicle.

Katherine:        

So one of the first things we look at is do you have gap insurance? And so gap insurance is one of those that if you have a newer vehicle, if you’re buying a brand new vehicle, and again I’m not an insurance agent, but as your friendly lawyer, I would strongly suggest you look into gap insurance because if you drive that car off the lot and get involved in an accident 24 hours later, what they’re going to pay you for that vehicle may not be what you actually owe on that vehicle at that point in time. Because when a car is involved in an accident, it automatically reduces the value of that vehicle and that’s if it’s a total loss or even if it’s not a total loss.

Katherine:   

So for instance, I have a client that recently came in. Very new truck, a 2018 truck. Was not a total loss but had significant damage and the property damage had already been fixed by the time this client came to me. So I wasn’t involved in any of that, but I said to the client, “Okay, well has anyone talked to you about diminished value of your truck because you have a very new truck,” and there’s actually, in the state of Florida, you can have a diminished value claim for the loss of what you have suffered in the value of that vehicle. We don’t typically do them on older vehicles, but newer vehicles, I usually try to look at it within two to three years old depending on the value of the vehicle and the type of the vehicle.

Katherine:

So there’s actual companies that we hire that will actually go out. They inspect the vehicle, they review all the damages that were done and they basically have some program or system that they can come up and say, “Okay, this vehicle was worth this prior to the accident. After the accident even with the factory repair parts, it’s now this much less because of that.” So I kind of view it as an additional type of property damage claim.

Host:      

So is this, to be able to do this, is that if a person does not have that gap insurance or they do have it?

Katherine:  

Well, if you’re going to get a total loss, you’re not going to have a diminished value claim.

Host:      

Okay. It’s only if it’s not the total loss.

Katherine: 

So the gap really applies when you have a total loss. I guess I should’ve clarified that a little bit, but the gap is more for if you have a total loss. That’s one thing that people should just be mindful of. You just buy a brand new truck for $30,000, you drive it off the lot and get involved in an accident a week later, it’s not going to be a $30,000 truck. Even if they put factory pieces back on it. You may not get even what you still owe on it, depending on what you put down on the vehicle. So that’s the importance.

Host:               

That’s where that comes in.

Katherine:     

That’s where the gap insurance.

Host:         

The other option is if it’s not.

Katherine:     

The other option is you have a newer vehicle, it’s not a total loss, but it is significantly now decreased in value because it’s now been involved in an accident.

Host:           

That’s interesting and again, that is something that you wouldn’t think of, you wouldn’t know about unless you had someone like Katherine on your side and can help help you in any situation I’m finding. Help give some clarification.

Katherine: 

We try to check all the boxes.

Host:       

And I like that. You know, I don’t so I’m glad you do. If you want more information from Katherine and see how she can help you, well of course you can give her a call today or you can visit her at the website you see on the screen along with the phone number and even address. As always, Katherine, we appreciate when you’re here.

INJURY FLORIDA LAW FIRM, P.A.

Call Toll-Free or Text

1-833-LAW-STONE

Injuryfloridalawfirm.com