Visitor Question

Accident with company van, owner doesn’t want to go through insurance?

Submitted By: Victoria (Waldorf, MD)

I was parked in the parking lot of a major chain auto parts & repair shop. A company van was out of gas, then suddenly slid into my rear passenger door. My rear passenger door is scratched with their van paint color and there is a small dent.

I contacted my insurance company and their insurance company. The owner of the company contacted me, stating that we should not get the insurance involved and he will compensate my car damages and me. But, he wants me to go to his choice of body shop to get my car repaired.

Should I agree to his terms or file a claim with his insurance company? Is there anything I should do to make sure I’m not taken advantage of? Thanks for any perspective you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Victoria,

Victoria (MD)

You basically have two options:

1) Go through the company’s insurance company

2) Accept the offer from the company owner

If you go through the company’s insurance you will have to deal with a claims adjuster. Dealing with adjusters can be frustrating. Because claims adjusters normally have well over a hundred claims they are working on at any one time, it may take a while for the adjuster to make arrangements to come to your home to view the damage to your car.

Once the adjuster reviews the damage he or she will either offer a cash settlement, or agree to pay for your repairs. There is a caveat when agreeing to have an adjuster pay for your repairs. In many cases, the adjuster will require you to have repairs done at a body shop of his or her choosing.

Because insurance companies pay out as little as possible, there is a chance the body shop may do only the minimum amount of repairs they can get away with. This can include using inferior quality paint, inadequate sanding and priming, not using OEM parts, etc.

In the alternative, if you agree to accept a cash settlement, that amount will likely be enough to have the minimum amount of work to effect repairs. That will be true even if you choose your own body shop.

It appears the best decision would be to accept the company’s offer to pay for repairs. Before agreeing to accept the offer, go to several body shops and choose one with an excellent reputation. Find out the cost of repairing your car properly.

Then go back to the company and ask for that amount. Doing so will result in your car being repaired faster, with high quality parts and work.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 28, 2014

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