The other day I had a member of our group reach out to me on Facebook and ask me, he had been in a wreck. He’s got a lawyer already, but he had a question about property damage on his bike and how that works, if he can get the check or does he have to give it to the lawyer, and that sort of thing.
So, I wanted to take that opportunity to kind of open it up to the group to explain property damage a little bit more, if you guys have been lucky enough not to have been in an accident yet, so you know how to handle it, if God forbid you guys are in an accident at some point, and you’ve got damage to your bike.
So, the answer to the question for him was, “…well, you know, you need to talk to your lawyer. It depends on the agreement you have with your lawyer.” The way we handle it is we never charge for property damage.
So, if we are helping with it as part of the overall injury case, we do that for free, whatever you get for the property damage. So, if it’s a total loss you’re getting a check from the insurance company.
Oftentimes, it’ll come to us and we actually forward it to the client. If it comes to the client directly, you take it and you’re off and running.
So, you’ve got to figure that out with the lawyer and what your agreement is. My argument would be you should never cut a deal with a lawyer where they’re going to take a portion of your property damage claim. They ought to be willing to do it like us, where they just do it for free as part of the overall representation of you in the accident.
But, I also want to take this opportunity to talk a little bit more about property damage and how to handle it, because quite frankly you can handle it on your own. It’s very rare you would need to get the lawyer involved.
There’s two potentials that happen in the property damage realm, and that is it’s either going to be fixed, or it’s going to be deemed to be too expensive to be fixed based off of the value; and it’s going to be totaled.
Most insurance companies have a 50% ratio when they decide whether totaled or repaired. So if the repairs are 50% or more of the value of the vehicle, they’ll just total it out. Some like USAA, 75%-ish. So, some of them are a little bit better and they’ll cover more of the repairs and not total it.
So, that’s one thing to keep in mind between guessing on what the insurance company’s likely to do. If they’re going to repair it — you know by the way, I always tell folks – run it through the at-fault party’s insurance first, because if you run it through yours you’re going to have a deductible, and you pay that upfront. You’ll get it back eventually, but it could be a year or more before you get it back.
So, why have that out-of-pocket cost when you can run it against the at-fault? What I also tell folks is if the at-fault insurance company isn’t going to treat you right, they’re undervaluing the bike, they’re not willing to do proper repairs with good OEM parts, not aftermarket parts, not repaired parts – just end it with them. Then it’s worth it to go with your insurance company and spend that deductible. Otherwise, work with the at-fault insurance company and get it, get it done.
If it’s totaled, you’re going to want to get at least three appraisals, and you can do it yourself, so you don’t spend any money. You know, Kelley Blue Book, edmunds.com is a good one. I think TrueCar now is a good one. I would get a bunch of those and find out based off of mileage, condition, any additions you have to the bike, what’s the value of that bike the moment before the wreck?
That is what you have a right to, and you want to get these estimates, average it out, and that’s what your goal is, to shoot for a number right around that range.
So, keep that in mind. Those are good tips on the property damage and again, be careful on the agreements that you reach with lawyers on. Are they taking a cut of your property damage? You need that money for a new bike or to repair the bike, not to spend it on a lawyer.
So, that’s my recommendation that flows from this conversation I had here with this member. I wanted to reach out to all of you all so you can have that information as well.
If you have any questions feel free to comment to the video or to the group, or you can shoot me an email. I’d be happy to talk with you. Thanks so much