VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour, and I'm broadcasting from my home office here in Los Angeles, California. I'm a practicing lawyer here, and one of the areas I practice is personal injury. There is an issue that has cropped up the last couple of client meetings that I think is worth bringing up and it's the issue of property damage. Clients come to my office and they have an older car and it gets into the accident and the insurance company evaluates the car and makes them an offer. For example, on a case that I recently had, the client had an older car. It was worth about $10,000 and the insurance company made an offer of about $10,000. The client comes to me and says, “Well, how am I supposed to buy a new car with that?” I said, “You're not supposed to buy a new car with that.”
You don't get a new car after an accident just because you were in an accident. If that was the case, then everybody with an older car who felt like trading up would just go get into some kind of car accident and get money from their insurance company and go buy a new car with it. I told the client you get the fair value of your car on the date of the accident. In other words, if you had sold the car the day of the accident before the accident happened, how much could you fairly get for it? How much could you have reasonably expected for a car that old, with that much mileage on it, with whatever options it had?
Basically, I tell them to go to resources like kelleybluebook.com or edmunds.com or cars.com. Another one is autotrader.com. These are nice online resources where you can plug in the information about your vehicle and see what comes up. If the insurance company's offering you roughly the same, go ahead and take it. You're not going to be able to buy a new car with it, but you can go maybe get a used car or put it towards a new car. Remember, you don't get a new car just because you were in an accident.
The other thing to keep in mind is that the insurance adjuster, the property damage adjuster doesn't really have a lot of leeway. They generally use a third party company. They hire this company and this company spits out a number and gets them a computer generated printout. Generally speaking, that's pretty much it. They don't have a lot of leeway from that number whereas perhaps on a bodily injury claim they might have more leeway.
When it comes to property damage they don't really move very much, so don't be terribly surprised or terribly disappointed if your experience with respective property damage is not that great. Frankly, the car or the vehicle will never be worth what you think it's worth. Most of the time my clients think their car is worth a lot more than it really is. Again, use objective resources, see how much the car would have bore in the marketplace, how much you could have gotten from a fair market value standpoint and that's pretty much it.
Thank you very much for watching this video. I appreciate it. My name is Robert Mansour, and I'll see you next time.
Robert Mansour handles personal injury cases in Santa Clarita, Newhall, Castaic, Canyon Country, Valencia, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch and surrounding communities. Ca (661) 414-7100 to make an appointment.