How to Deal with Your Car Damage After an Accident

After a car accident in Boston, you are likely worried about getting to and from medical appointments and, perhaps, work as well – on top of a ton of other worries, of course. You want to know who will pay to repair your car or replace it with a new one. You also want to know whether you can get a rental car while your property damage claim is getting resolved. Our experienced legal team at Michael Kelly, Injury Lawyers, is here to help.

Attorney Michael D. Kelly and our legal team will go the extra mile to help with your property damage claim while, at the same time, pursuing a claim for any bodily injury you have suffered. For instance, we can help you to file a claim against the driver who caused your crash or with your own insurance company. We are so certain of our client service that we offer a 30-day, risk-free guarantee. If you are unhappy for any reason within the first 30 days of our representation, we will return your file free of charge. Contact us today to schedule your free initial case consultation.

What Should You Do After a Boston Car Accident?

Although a skilled attorney can help with your property damage claim, you can take a few steps on your own right after an accident that will help. Those steps include:

Get the other driver’s insurance information. The police should give you an exchange of information form. If not, be sure to gather (at a minimum) the other driver’s name, license plate number and insurance information.

Take photos of your vehicle and the area. Try to get a range of shots, including photos of the front, back and sides of your vehicle and photos of any debris or tire marks around the vehicles. The more pictures, the better. They really can tell a thousand words.

Get a copy of the police accident report. You can obtain a copy of the official crash report by visiting the Registry of Motor Vehicles website.

Report the accident to your own insurance company. Most auto insurance policies require you to report an accident. As long as you comply with your requirements, you will preserve your right to file a claim with your insurance company if the other driver turns out to be uninsured, or if your injuries exceed what is available through that driver’s liability policy.

Meet with an attorney. Bring all of your insurance paperwork, medical bills and records, the police report, photos, car repair estimates, car rental bills and anything else you think may help your claim to your initial, free consultation with an attorney at Michael Kelly.

Filing a Property Damage Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

If another driver caused your crash, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. Under Massachusetts law, all vehicle owners must maintain minimum liability insurance to cover up to $5,000 for property damage. This is not very much. If the insurance company agrees to accept liability, the insurer must next decide whether to “total” the vehicle or repair it. If it can be repaired for less than what the vehicle is worth, the insurance company will probably pay to repair it. If the repairs would be too costly, the insurance company might choose to simply pay you the actual cash value instead.

Here are a few other important things to know about filing a property damage claim with the other driver’s insurance company in Boston:

How is “actual cash value” determined? An insurance company typically will look at comparable vehicles in the area market to determine what a replacement vehicle with similar features, mileage and condition might sell for on the market. An experienced auto accident lawyer can help make sure that the insurer uses proper calculations when it makes this determination.

Taking the car for a second opinion. The insurance company will want you to use its body shop. This may be fine. However, if that body shop tells you that clearly damaged components do not need to be repaired, then you definitely have a right to get a second opinion from a trusted body shop.

Keeping a totaled car. If the insurance company deems the car to be “totaled,” you can keep your car if you wish. In most cases, the insurance company will subtract the salvage value of the vehicle from its offer. In other words, you can have a little more money and turn over the car, or you can take a little less and keep it.

Disputes over diminished value. For many higher-value late model vehicles, the value of the car is still thousands less than it would have been but for the crash – even after the car accident repairs get done. Michael Kelly can help you to fight for additional compensation for this difference in value. This is called the diminished value of the vehicle. You are entitled to recover this amount if you can prove that your car is worth less after the repairs than it was before the collision.

Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company

If you need fast car wreck repair, you may be better off dealing with your own insurance company initially. Here’s how it works.

File claim. If you file a claim for “collision” benefits with your insurance company, then your own insurance company will take care of the repairs, or they will issue your check for the total loss of your vehicle.

Pay deductible. If you have a deductible, you will need to pay this amount first, or if your car was a total loss, the insurer will withhold this amount from your check.

Subrogation. Behind the scenes, your insurance company will seek a recovery of its money from the other driver’s insurance company. This is a process called subrogation. It is often done through a process called arbitration, which is private and done outside of court.

Refund. If successful, once the insurance company recovers the money it spent on the repairs, it will refund your deductible.

Can You Get a Rental While Your Property Damage Claim Is Pending?

Often, you can obtain a rental vehicle from your own insurance company while you wait for your car to be repaired. If you choose to go through the other driver’s insurance company, that insurer may also provide a rental. Our firm can help work out these arrangements on your behalf and help the process to go more smoothly for you. This is just another part of our exceptional service to our clients.

Get Help from a Boston Car Accident Attorney Today

At Michael Kelly, Injury Lawyers, we’re “The Michael Kelly Injury Lawyers.” It’s our mission to take the unpleasant challenges that come with being in a car crash and turn it into a positive situation. This means working hard to ease your burdens, from negotiating with insurance companies to helping you to get your car repaired. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Massachusetts, you deserve an experienced, compassionate and caring lawyer who will work to resolve your insurance claim. Contact us and let us get started on your case today.

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I would highly recommend Michael Kelly to anyone who is seeking a knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated lawyer.

Frensis P.



Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.