Laura and Scott Robertson

Property Damage

More than 100 online 5-star Client Reviews

Named Best Law Firm and Best Attorney many times in Coastal Style and The Metropolitan magazines.

Attempting to achieve a fair settlement with an insurance adjuster for a totaled car or truck is often a frustrating process.  Many people quickly find out that adjusters are often not concerned about handling claims fairly, but instead are trained to pay out as little as possible.

Convincing an auto insurance claims adjuster to increase a settlement offer for a totaled vehicle is difficult and sometimes impossible.

I spent many years as the primary outside lawyer for a major insurance company. I often told the claims adjusters that the company would save money in the long run by treating people fairly on their property damage claim.  Unfair property damage settlement offers result in the hiring of legal representation for the bodily injury claim, which in my considerable experience, almost always results in a much higher settlement of the bodily injury claim. Unfortunately, adjusters are only concerned about the portion of the claim they are handling, not whether another adjuster will have to pay out more for the injury portion of the settlement at a later time.

An insurance company’s liability for a total loss property damage claim is defined by the fair market value of the vehicle (before the crash, of course).  This legal principal is rarely in dispute.  The real question is almost always: what was the fair market value of the vehicle?

Not surprisingly, the insurance carriers almost always value your car or truck lower than expected.  Two leading sources of used car values in the U.S. and in Maryland are Kelly’s Blue Book (kbb.com) and NADA (nada.com).  I recommend that you use these free websites to gain a fair idea of your car or truck’s value.  Please note that you are almost never going to receive the full “retail value” of your vehicle, nor will most vehicles be rated in “excellent” condition.

Unfortunately, very few car insurance companies use Kelly’s Blue Book or NADA.  Instead, they use companies such as CCC Valuescope and Autosource/Audatex.

CCC Valuescope is the dominant company providing appraisal values for totaled vehicles for insurance companies. In my experience, CCC Valuescope always generates an unfair value that is less than Kelly’s Blue Book or NADA.  Why are the appraisals of CCC Valuescope so low?  In my opinion, it is because they make a great deal of money providing this service to the insurance companies.  If they suddenly started valuing vehicles the same as or higher than Kelly’s Blue Book or NADA, the insurance companies would stop using their service—and paying their appraisal fees.  As such, there is a mutual benefit between CCC Valuescope and the insurance companies to have a low appraised value.

The insurance company may provide you with a lengthy, impressive-looking report generated by CCC Valuescope.  Certainly something so comprehensive must be accurate, correct?  In my experience, the answer is a definite NO!  CCC Valuescope purports to list actual vehicles for sale as there basis for calculating a value of your vehicle.  Occasionally, I have had a client that actually calls the car lots and inquired as to the comparison cars listed in the report.  Those clients have reported to me that substantial mistakes were made on the CCC report in the pricing, mileage, etc. of the comparison vehicles.

Do a quick Google search of CCC Valuescope and find page after page of consumer complaints about unfair appraisals by CCC Valuescope and the insurance companies that use this service.  Are they a legitimate company providing a legitimate service?  I guess the answer is “yes” if your goal is to generate a low-ball value for a totaled car or truck.

Some insurance companies utilize Autosource by Audatex rather than CCC Valuescope. My opinion of Autosource is the same as stated above regarding CCC Valuescope. These companies compete for the business of the big insurance companies. There is a business incentive for these “independent” companies to save money for the insurance companies—by generating low valuations for the totaled vehicles.

So, what are your options?

The truth is that most property damage adjusters will not budge much on their total loss offer.  Why?  Because (unlike the personal injury aspects of your case) they know that it is not cost-effective for you to challenge their unfair offer in court.  To do so would cost you time (it takes several months after you file in court to have your case heard by a judge) and money (court costs, hiring your own appraiser and paying him to come to court, continued car payments, and having to wait to get paid so you can purchase another car), and the insurance company usually stops paying for a rental a few days after they make the settlement offer.

There are a few strategies that do seem to work to get some auto insurance adjusters to increase their total loss offer:

  1. Provide receipts for recent upgrades to your car.  Did you just buy new tires?  Provide that receipt to the adjuster.  This will not result in a dollar-for-dollar increase (especially because the general value assumes that average-wear tires are on the car), but may get some movement from the insurance company.  Note that most adjusters will not increase the value for routine maintenance, such as oil changes or tune ups.
  2. Dispute the comparison vehicles listed in the CCC Valuescope (or other service) appraisal.  This requires a lot of homework.  As mentioned above, you may be able to call about the actual vehicles listed in the report.  You can also generate your own list of comparable vehicles for sale in your area.
  3. Check the details of your vehicle listed in the report.  Is the mileage correct?  Are all the options listed?

Will doing these things make a difference?  The honest answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.  Some adjusters do want to be fair—to the extent the parameters established by the carrier allow it.  But some adjusters deem it easier to say NO—that they cannot deviate from the value that their service generated.

Perhaps one of the most difficult situations is created when the balance of the car loan exceeds the total loss offer.  This seems unfair—you were completely happy making your payments, and now you will be left without a car and still owing the bank.  Unfortunately, the insurance company’s legal responsibility is limited to the fair market value of the vehicle, no matter how much you owe.

The very best advice I can give you is to make sure you are treated fairly on your personal injury insurance claim.

On the personal injury claim, we do have a great deal of leverage over the insurance companies, as filing a lawsuit is much more cost effective on the personal injury case, and they know it.  This does not mean that your injury case will result in a lawsuit!  But it is this different balance of power on the personal injury aspect of the case that helps us keep the insurance companies honest and fair, and usually results in us being able to achieve a fair result without a lawsuit.

Remember, we offer a free consultation for personal injury claims.  Also keep in mind that it is always better to get us involved early in the claims process so mistakes can be avoided.

By getting us involved soon after a car or truck accident, we can provide you with specific advice regarding your total loss property damage claim.

Be assured that we will work hard for you so that you do not have to settle for a low-ball settlement offer from the insurance company for your personal injury claim.

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Janay L.

Robertson and Robertson made me feel safe after my accident. Excellent advice and friendly staff. Vera is amazing and great to work with.

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Josh L.

When I was looking for an accident attorney the first place I came to was Google reviews and I'm so glad I did! I've had such a pleasant experience working with Robertson and Robertson. Mr. Scott Robertson is a very professional attorney and his staff who bring the meaning of high quality to the table. If you want someone who is going to fight for you, look no further.

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Kaye J.

Scott and Laura are more than just attorneys advocating on your behalf. From the moment you meet them their professional expertise is ever present, and their advocacy is beyond impressive. Their ability to see you as more than just a case is the gift in their practice.

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Melane B.

Robertson and Robertson are the most caring, knowledgeable and helpful group that I have ever had the pleasure of doing business with. They made what could have been a stressful traumatic situation a smooth process. They handled every aspect of my case so that I could heal and return to a normal life. Their office staff is above and beyond professional and courteous. Vera made sure I always understood the process and that any questions I had were answered in full. They are the best in the entire area.

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Wynnette C.

Mr. Robertson and his associates helped me navigate through this experience. I had a devastating accident in December 2017. The accident not only caused me physical damage but also financial damage. Robertson & Robertson helped me recoup my losses so that I could regain the quality of life I had before the accident. They kept me informed every step of the way and whenever I called them, I received a prompt response. I highly recommend the law firm of Robertson & Robertson!

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Aurora W.

I absolutely loved them! They went above and beyond in every aspect possible to make me feel safe, secure, and reassured! They did everything I asked and more! They really made me feel a part of the team without the stress and hassle! I would recommend them to anyone and everyone who asked!

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Brittany M.

Scott and his staff are amazing! They really helped me through a rough personal injury case and were nothing short of professional throughout the entire process. Great communication and they really take good care of their clients! I highly recommend Robertson & Robertson to anyone!

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Ron D.

Our experience with Scott and his team was very professional at every step. Scott’s team made you feel very comfortable, walked you through the process, and understood our concerns and time constraints. They were able to act appropriately in a timely fashion that concluded with an extremely successful outcome. We would highly recommend this team for your legal needs.

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Robin N.

I personally recommend Scott Robertson's office to anyone in need of an attorney. I work with him on a professional level from a medical facility and have seen firsthand how his office is run. His level of professionalism sets the precedence for many. The highest compliment you can give is the gift of a referral, and I have referred family members and friends in need of an attorney to this office. At his office you will not be "just a number, " but his office will actually know who you are by name. You do not give them your "case number" as so many attorneys require, but they actually know YOU. The office staff is also friendly, knowledgeable, courteous...just wonderful. This office absolutely is an asset to our community!

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Eric T.

Not always the way you want to meet great people, but that's exactly what happened. The team here went above and beyond my expectations. From handling the case as professionally and personally as possible to remaining in contact the entire process, I had peace of mind that everything was handled. I will be sure to refer your business to anyone I hear in need.

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Angela R.

From the moment we walked into their office to the regretful (that our wonderful meetings together were over) last goodbye we experienced nothing but sincere and continued compassion and caring. Mr. Robertson made us feel that he had all the bases covered, and he did! He was always available to answer any concerns or questions and, in the end, far exceeded our greatest expectations. He turned an unfortunate event around. We would recommend he and his office family to anyone that is looking for the best attorney on the shore!

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William G.

I am tremendously thankful for the sheer level of expertise and professionalism that I've witnessed from Robertson & Robertson. Scott and his associates put my wife and me at ease from the very beginning, and they were always very generous in sharing their insight and experience. They patiently walked us through the process, were always available to answer our questions, and gave us guidance every step of the way. I am thoroughly impressed by Mr. Robertson and the exquisite service of his company and, thanks to all of their hard work, we've been blessed with the best possible outcome we could have ever hoped for. 10 stars out of 5! I've told all my family and friends and I would definitely recommend this law firm to anyone looking for the best personal injury attorney!

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Ashley C.

With any situation I would highly recommend this law office! they are very nice, they always answer the phone when I call and answer any questions I have right then, they don’t leave you in the dark as some offices will, they are great!

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Josiah

This law firm is the best in the business. Mr. Robertson and Ms. Vera were a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend this law firm based on their expertise, customer service and prior track record. Thanks to Mr. Robertson and his staff for a successful outcome.

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Robert B.

This is one of the best law firms around and so organized, thorough, friendly, understanding, and loyal to their clients. I was in a severe car accident that almost ended my life. They took good care of everything while I was trying to heal from being in a critical condition state. I guarantee that if anyone chooses J Scott Robertson and Robertson & Robertson law firm they will be satisfied because I was. Through all this we became friends and he told me if I ever need anything don’t hesitate to call him. Thank you for your support the 3 years I dealt with you for the life changing accident I went through and the way you treated me!

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Sherry B.

After being in a car accident, things just got too overwhelming for me to keep dealing with on my own. The constant phone calls, questions, and having to keep repeating myself over and over again with adjusters and insurance companies got to be way too much! A friend recommended Robertson & Robertson and it was the best thing I ever did! One meeting with Scott and Vera and everything was smooth sailing. They handled everything!! So welcoming. So easy to talk to. So comforting. I have never been through anything like this before, and they made this entire process so easy. Scott kept in constant touch every step of the way to keep me updated and fully aware of what was going on. I highly recommend Scott and his staff. I pray I will never need a lawyer again for myself or my family due to a car accident, however if I do, I feel comfort in knowing I have one that I can count on.

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David G

Scott, Laura and the entire staff at Robertson and Robertson have helped several of our clients out when they are dealing with a difficult claim. If you are involved in a serious accident, Robertson and Robertson are the attorneys that you want working for you!

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Cheri D.

I went to Robertson & Robertson after being in a head on collision. My sister and I had multiple serious injuries. The medical bills were piling up and the insurance companies were very confusing. Scott, Vera & David did an amazing job! They were very compassionate and professional. We were kept informed of everything along the way. We received a much larger settlement than we expected. I highly recommend the friendly experts at Robertson & Robertson.

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