I have blogged about the benefits of citizens filing for property arbitration hearings in their respective county when they are unhappy, insulted, and/or confused with the offers they receive from the at fault driver’s insurance company following a motor vehicle collision. Clicking on the link below from a prior article I wrote, will set forth the actual law on property arbitrations and highlight the items you should bring to win your case. More importantly, this process may take more time but it only costs $10 (ten dollars). Seriously, you could get hundreds or thousands more on your property for a $10 investment and your time.
Why do I advocate property arbitration?
- I feel insurance companies habitually take advantage of people injured through no fault of their own and start kicking them while they are down immediately with low ball or inaccurate information about property reimbursement.
- Insurance companies can lie and mislead you on the law because they aren’t lawyers, they are only protecting their money. Not your money.
- It is such a simple, affordable, and successful process for the property owner to get more money than they are being offered by the insurance company AND cost the insurance company additional money for being greedy.
Below I have detailed a real life example and scenario that happened in Anderson County on January 16, 2014 in an arbitration hearing for one of my clients.
My client was the owner of a 1971 Pontiac Bonneville that had been passed down from his family to him and kept in pristine shape. He loved that car and had strong emotional and sentimental attachments to it. On occassion he would allow his son to drive the car and on one such day his son was driving in Oconee County when suddenly and without warning he was violently rear ended while driving in his lane of travel by a young girl in a Dodge Ram pick up truck. The damage was extensive to the classic vehicle. However, my client wanted it repaired or paid the classic value he associated with it. Liability was not in dispute, the at fault driver was responsible for the collision for speeding.
Unfortunately, the at fault driver was insured by Safeco Insurance Company and they took a draconian approach to resolving my client’s property damage. They offered to pay my client $3,500.00 for the vehicle because their own estimate for repairs was $5,700.00 and they felt that my client’s vehicle was worth the lowest end of the NADA estimate. You have to realize insurance companies don’t make money paying it to claims from their insureds causing harms and losses. Insurance companies make money low balling, minimizing, and starving out clients to force them to settle.
My client refused Safeco’s low ball offer and followed my advice by filing a property arbitration in the county the at fault driver lived, which was Anderson County. Since I was assisting his son on the personal injury claim from the motor vehicle collision, I thought I would run by the courthouse and make sure he presented the best case in front of the panel and the defense attorney hired by Safeco.
In any property arbitration hearing the plaintiff, or person bringing the claim, will present their side of the case first. The plaintiff should bring two or more property estimates signed and notarized by the company providing the estimate, pictures of the damage or vehicle, a copy of the accident report, and be prepared to answer any questions the panel my have. Next, the defense attorney will present their case and explain to the panel why they think the property damage is only x amount of dollars.
Yesterday, we presented the evidence and although Safeco had only offered $3,500.00 19 months earlier, at the hearing they agreed the claim was worth at least $5,000.00. My clients had originally filed on their own and only asked for $7,500.00 but since I came I went ahead and provided a more recent property estimate for over $10,000.00 and asked for that amount from the panel. The whole process took around 30 minutes from start to finish. The panel eventually awarded my client $8,255.00, which turned out to be the difference between Safeco’s original estimate of $5,700.00 and my more recent estimate for over $10,000.00. A fair verdict no doubt and more than double what Safeco had ever offered my clients.
Go forward people and fight this battle! Stop being railroaded into accepting less than the value of your vehicles. Stand up and fight for yourselves. The insurance companies will continue to take money from your hands as long as you allow it.
PRIOR ARTICLE DETAILING PROCESS AND LAW: