It's Just a Scratch

Jan. 28, 2020

It's Just a Scratch

Seems like so many times, especially when you've been in a rear-end "tapper" (low-speed) collision, both the person that hit you and his or her insurance company can take one look at your rear bumper and quickly decide "it's just a scratch - not much damage to your car." Don't fall for it - without having an INDEPENDENT body shop mechanic do a complete inspection, no one knows exactly what your property damage is or could be! Depending on actual impact speed(s), road conditions, whether you were moving or stopped upon impact, even the size of vehicle that hit you and whether it sat higher or lower to the ground than your vehicle, there could certainly be more damage than meets the eye. What might seem to be a "low impact" collision can actually result in bumper denting/internal damage that you may not see at first glance, can push rear quarter panels slightly out of place, crack rear light covers, or cause your rear hood to be out of place. No matter how minimal the impact might seem, BE PROACTIVE in preserving damage evidence (at the accident scene if possible) that will be important later. First: take pictures of the impact area to your vehicle and the striking vehicle. Second: take your vehicle to the body shop of your choice and get a real estimate. Don't let the at-fault insurance company trick you into only having their people do a quickie visual inspection of your vehicle and then also trick you into having it fixed at their repair shop. They will give you the lowest property damage estimate possible and fix as little as possible, all which can end up hurting your bodily injury case as a result. An independent body shop (even if it's just your vehicle's local dealership) will do a much more complete inspection, and give you more complete repairs. Check with your own insurance and see what coverage options you might have (comp/collision, rental, etc.). When using your own insurance, you may have to pay a deductible, but your insurance will get it back for you from the at-fault insurance ("subrogation"), and the process moves so much faster using your own coverage if you have it - your insurance will approve and pay repairs and rental much more quickly, while the at-fault insurance takes its own sweet time - sometimes months - to track down and interview their own insured driver, other witnesses, and decide on liability, then eventually get around to paying for your property damage and possibly rental. Using your insurance will NOT make your rates go up (under Nevada law!) unless the accident was your fault. Third: call my office at (702) 538-5761 so that we can discuss and decide what your best options are for a complete damage estimate and repairs, and getting a rental for you as quickly as possible. Be proactive and take charge of your circumstances when you've been hit - don't let the bad guy's insurance control your injury claim by telling you "it's just a scratch"!