A serious car accident can mean serious damage to your car. If you have been in an accident you can file a personal injury claim to help cover the cost of repairing the damage or buying a new car if your car is totaled.
If your car has a bent or damaged frame as a result of the accident it is likely that the car will be totaled. If it’s repairable you can claim the cost of that repair on a personal injury claim.
Talk to a personal injury attorney today to find out more about filing a personal injury claim that will include money to pay for the damage to your car that was caused by the accident.
If you were in an accident that resulted in frame damage, you might have questions. What happens if your car’s frame was bent in a crash? How does this affect your damages? To answer some of those questions, we have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
A high-impact auto accident can cost you thousands of dollars. If a car crash has damaged your vehicle, you might have enough evidence to file a personal injury claim to recover the cost of repairing the damage.
Personal injury claims do more than take care of medical bills. The legal process also allows you to recoup the costs of repairing your car, especially when it comes to paying for car frame damage repair costs.
What Is Frame Damage?
Structural or frame damage is a general term. It can refer to damage to any part of the car that involves its main structure or anything that is designed with the purpose of providing structural integrity to the car. Frame damage can seriously hurt a car’s ability to protect the driver and passengers in an accident.
Most cars in the U.S. are created on what is called an integrated unibody structure. The car’s frame is its structure, its foundation. If any part of it is not stable, the entire car is not safe to drive.
When it comes to frame damage, is not a matter of the appearance of the car but rather safety of those in the car and on the road.
Frame damage represents a general term that refers to the structural damage done to your car’s frame. Damage to the frame of your car can significantly impair the performance of the motor vehicle, as well as diminish protection for the driver and passengers.
Most motor vehicles in the United States possess what is referred to as an integrated body structure, which means the car’s frame is the structure that holds most of the exterior auto components together. If any section of a car frame becomes structurally compromised, the motor vehicle is unsafe to operate.
One typical method of measuring damages for a car that has been in an accident is to take the difference of the value of the car before the accident occurred and the value of the car immediately after the accident.
If it is economically possible to repair the car, the driver is entitled to the cost of repair, which includes the cost of painting, as well.
Does Frame Damage Equal Total Loss?
Frame damage does not automatically mean the car is a loss. However, depending on how severe the damage is, the car could potentially have structural total loss. If the damage is so extensive that it is not even certain if a repair can be completed, the car can be considered to be at a total structural loss.
A car’s frame, including a unibody frame, can be repaired and put back into drivable shape. The problem arises, however, with the fact that once the frame has been damaged, it is now weaker than it originally was.
The car’s stability and safety has been compromised which does make it a liability for the owner of the car and others on the road. Many insurance companies will say that does not make the car a loss, but, depending on the type of hit that the car sustained, it could very well be.
What if Damaged Resulted in Car Being Totaled?
When the insurance company is reviewing the damages to your car's frame, if they decided that the car is "totaled", it means that they believe that the costs to repair the damage to your car's frame will not exceed the worth of the vehicle.
While in some cases damage to a car frame can result in repair, there is a chance that the damage could be significant enough that it would result in the vehicle being totaled. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage from your auto insurance, that will help you pay to replace the totaled vehicle.
If your car's frame was bent that resulted in the vehicle being damaged, you want to make sure that you gather as much physical evidence as you can. If the accident was no fault of your own, you may want to consider contact a personal injury lawyer.
How To Determine If Your Car Was Totaled
A totaled car does not refer to the damage that was done in the accident. A car is totaled when the cost of repairing the car exceeds the value of the car. Frame damage is am general term that covers many types of damages. Therefore the cost of fixing frame damage can be under $100 for a quick adjustment or over $1000 for a more complicated fix that involves replacing pieces of the frame.
To determine the exact cost of the damage you will have to take your car to a trusted autobody shop and get an estimate of the damages. In an accident that involved frame damage, repairing a frame alone might not total the car. However, it is most likely that there will be other repairs that need to be made which might increase the total damages. After you have received the estimated cost of repairing the frame damage, you can then determine if the car is totaled.
For example, if the car had a current value of $4,000 and the estimated cost to repair the car was $2,000 you would receive only $2,000 from the insurance company. If the cost to repair the same car was $5,000 you would only receive the $4,000 that covered the current value of the car. Even if you owed more than $4,000. That is why it is important to consider filing a personal injury claim because it might help recover some of the additional expenses that occur as a result of the accident.
If the insurance company believes your car can be salvaged and the frame safely and adequately repaired, your damages would be for the costs of repair. If the frame damage involves the entire car’s structure, you would also be talking exterior repairs, including paint, if needed.
However, one consideration that could be made is to also consider the car’s resale value. Sure, the car is now drivable and, for all appearances, it looks like it did before. The problem arises when the owner tries to sell the car. Frame damage weakens the car’s structure and can raise red flags for buyers.
This could lower the resale price should the driver ever seek to sell the car. The driver could try to ask that the insurance company compensate him or her for that amount, although it can be unknown depending on when you would be expected to sell the car, if ever.
If your car is considered “totaled,” your insurance company will only pay the fair market value of the car as it was the day of the accident. Even if you technically owe more than what the fair market value may be, the insurance company will only compensate you for the fair market value.
The insurer does have the legal right to take the car into possession and attempt to sell it on the secondary market so that they can try to recoup some of the losses sustained in paying out the fair market value. This does not always happen, but that right does exist.
If you disagree with the insurance company’s valuation of your car, you have the right to dispute their valuation and go through the appropriate legal options laid out in your insurance contract.
How is Car Frame Damage Repair Cost Calculated?
A general rule for calculating bent car frame repair cost is to subtract the value of the car after an accident from the value of the car before the accident.
If it makes financial sense to repair your car frame, you might be entitled to receive compensation for the car frame damage repair cost. Frame damage to the entire structure of a motor vehicle can include the cost of painting the entire exterior of the car.
One financial consideration is the automobile’s resale value. You can drive your vehicle, but that does not mean the car carries the same resell value that it had before the accident.
Your insurance policy might compensate you for the lower resell value of your car. However, the policy must clearly state your insurance company is on the financial hook to compensate you for the bent car frame repair cost.
If you want to contest your insurance company’s valuation of your damaged car frame, you have the right to file a formal complaint that disputes the valuation. In general, the cost to repair car frame damage runs between $600 and $1,000. However, serious damage to your car frame can cost you more than $10,000 for repair work.
How to File an Insurance Claim for Bent Car Frame Repair Cost
Filing an insurance claim to pay for car frame damage repair costs involves submitting convincing evidence of the auto accident. Photographs taken of the damage are a good start, but you also need to submit copies of the repair bill.
If law enforcement got involved, submit a copy of the police report if it confirms that the other party is legally liable for damaging your vehicle. Witness accounts also can help you file an insurance claim that gets approved.
What to Expect from a car accident settlement
Although property damage can be expensive, it is limited by the value of the car and the items inside. When determining the value of a car accident settlement, there are three additional categories to consider.
The first is medical bills. In an accident that is severe enough to cause frame damage, it is possible that there will be injuries that occurred to you. Medical expenses can pile up and this will be the main factor in determining how much the settlement would be. It is important to keep get an itemized medical bill to demonstrate exactly how much the accident cost in medical expenses. This includes medical expenses that have not yet occurred such as future physical therapy.
The second is the wages that you missed because you were recovering from the accident. Make sure to estimate all of the wages that were already lost as well as wages that will be lost in the future. If you are no longer able to complete your current job, this will be another factor that adds to the amount of your settlement.
The last category to evaluate is pain and suffering. This is a little harder to put a numerical value on because it takes into consideration your quality of life while recovering from the accident and any permanent changes to your lifestyle that might have occurred.
When you add all of these values up, that will be the amount that you are asking for. After that, it is likely that you will receive some negotiation from the insurance company of the other individuals involved. It is important that you have an attorney on your side that can helpnegotiating these types of situations.
Contact a Personal injury Attorney
If your car received significant car frame damage, you should schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
A lawyer not only can help you recover the cost of bent car frame damage, but legal counsel is also there to help you receive compensation for diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating any injuries that you suffered because of the auto accident.
Make sure you act with a sense of urgency, as you have a limited amount of time to file a claim.
If your car’s frame was bent in a crash and are concerned about whether you have coverage for damages received, it is recommended you contact an attorney to ask any questions you may have.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. You should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today to receive the compensation for:
- Your medical bills
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering