Most of your automobile personal injury clients (or a close family member) own the occupied vehicle involved in the collision. Frequently property damage claims are under-compensated and the difference is recoverable from insured tortfeasors. That does not mean getting bogged down in property damage issues contemporaneous to their initial disposition. It means having the property damage claim reviewed by an expert post-resolution to identify uncompensated losses that can be recovered in conjunction with the BI claim without urgency. In addition to having more satisfied clients, you can alter your fee agreement to include property damage claims under the same terms as the BI.
While many property damage claims are under-compensated, discretion must be used to ensure that the dollar amount of each claim is sufficient to warrant investment in an expert opinion as well as your time in pursuit. I offer a free initial evaluation of settled property damage claim to advise you as to viability and value. All I need to conduct that evaluation is your permission to speak to the client. If the case is not viable or valuable enough, I'll advise the client if you wish.
For vehicles that undergo repair, I look for diminution in value (DIV) and where a vehicle was totaled (TL), I determine if the settlement was sufficient and frequently find them significantly underpaid. Whether DIV or TL, loss of use can be a factor because Florida law establishes the measure of damage as the amount it would have cost the plaintiff to rent a comparable vehicle for a reasonable period of time based on the circumstances of the claim. It does not require the plaintiff to actually rent. My free initial evaluation includes loss of use.
Once I have provided you with an initial valuation of the claim you can decide whether to invest in an opinion and pursue the damages. Typically law firms do not pursue cases worth less than $3,000. Where the damages are less, with your permission we can offer a service directly to your client where we assist them in pursuing the damages themselves.
The cost of a standard diminution in value or total loss opinion is $300 and where there is also a sufficiently valuable loss of use claim, it costs an addition $100. A standalone loss of use opinion is $250.
An important consideration in selecting an expert is that they are local. When insurers see opinions from out of state experts they bet that the plaintiff will not incur the expense of the expert appearing at a trial. Having a local expert makes it much less likely that a case will ever get to trial. In addition to being local my experience goes far beyond automobile valuation as I have held executive positions in major insurance company claim departments. Additionally, having been focused on helping recover uncompensated property damage claims for nearly ten (10) years now, I know every insurance company trick and provide you with free end to end consultation with every opinion to ensure that your recovery effort succeeds.