Joe Burr 2014-07-03 00:25:44
Control Access to Your Client’s Vehicle During the initial intake, all your client wants to know is how they are going to get to work and the doctor. Your client has no rental car coverage, nor the financial means to rent a car on their own. Third-party insurance adjusters say that liability is being investigated and they won’t extend a rental. Your client is stuck. Sound familiar? Your new client begins to think that if you, as their attorney, cannot solve this initial, immediate problem how can you be expected to handle other issues? Doubt and more frustration are added to existing problems. Ready access to a reliable automobile rental agency with a wide range of services provides the attorney with the elements of rapid service to his or her client, reliability and security. When your client is involved in a car accident, it is imperative that you establish initial control over and access to the client’s vehicle. This should be an immediate concern. Towing and storage should be matters decided by the attorney and the client – not the insurance company. Allowing the vehicle to be stored in the insurance company’s lot adds another and an unnecessary layer of difficulty in getting things done to expedite that client’s case and to see that he or she receives justice with as few hassles and slow-downs as possible. The extra steps an attorney has to take and the hoops he or she will have to jump through add unnecessary costs and time to resolving a client’s case. It sounds obvious, but attorneys involved in a vehicular accident case should immediately determine exactly where their client’s vehicle is located. They should get the contact information for the third-party insurance company and the name and phone number and address of the client. You would be surprised at how easy it is to forget to acquire basic information in the rush of the initial client contact. An attorney should insist that the client, insurance company and any suppliers (such as rental car agencies) copy the attorney on significant documents and communications by email or written communication. The document you fail to receive or the bit of information you’re not copied on could prove detrimental to the case. Generally someone is involved in a crash, the car is disabled, and the person has no transportation. They may not have a rental car coverage policy in their car insurance or the other party’s insurance won’t cover a rental until the police report comes out, which could take anywhere from 10 days to two weeks. So, if people are of relatively modest means and do not have the requisite means, not having the ability to rent a car on their own, then they’re up a creek without a paddle. Consider the advantage your practice could have if you provided your clients with a reliable vehicle without the hassle. Accidents will affect other aspects of clients’ lives. In a recent case, a client was in a car crash late one evening and had to get to work the next day. He had no way to get to work and was out of sick days. He was facing the very real possibility that he would lose his job. The attorney contacted our firm and we were able to deliver a vehicle to the client’s house that night. The attorney was able to take care not only of the client’s legal needs, but also his immediate family and business concerns while maintaining full access to the vehicle involved in the incident. Regardless of the nature of the accident, the client or the insurance company involved, an attorney should establish and maintain control and access to his or her client’s vehicle and should relinquish that control only after all legal means necessary for the client’s case have been met. Joe Burr is President of Allied Accident Rental and Kales Collision Center. For more information, call (480) 969-7623 or visit www.alliedrentalcars.com.
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