Who is Responsible for Repairs After a Car Accident?
Culpability for damages and repairs in the event of a car accident is largely dependent on who is determined to have been at fault for the accident. If you are definitely not at fault for the accident, then the other driver is liable to pay for any damages and injury to you, your car, and any additional items or property that were on you when the accident occurred. This includes any personal belongings that were in the car when the accident occurred:
- Sports equipment
Determining culpability is not always easy. For example, in cases wherein a vehicle is rear-end car accident, the standard rule is that the vehicle that hits the other vehicle from behind is responsible for the accident. In other scenarios, however, it may not always be clear as to who is at for for an auto accident. In such cases, it is not uncommon to have an on-site police officer arrive at the scene and issue a report as to who was responsible for the car accident.
Liability Coverage Under the Culpable Party’s Insurance
If case the insurance company of the person at fault for the accident accepts fault, then they would be liable to pay you for damages. Except for hit and run accidents, this is the most commonly used mechanism whereby you simply deal with the other motorist’s insurance provider and are entitled to payment for injuries and damages and to have your car repaired and/or sent to an approved garage for repair at the insurer’s expense. Unfortunately, this may take a few weeks to get sorted out, as insurance companies conduct strict due diligence before making payouts.
Auto Accident Coverage Under Your Insurance
To speed things, and even for scenarios in which culpability for the accident has not yet been determined, it is best to put in an accident claim with the insurance provider you have signed up with. You should do so not just for car damage but for bodily injuries sustained as well, if any. Most full collision coverage plans generally come with a deductible for such cases. This deductible can be reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance company once culpability is determined and you will be reimbursed.
You may also be eligible for rental reimbursement while your car is being repaired. If you do not have such a provision in your own policy, you may be able to seek this reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company that is paying for damages.
Uninsured Motorists and Insurance Coverage
If the individual responsible for the accident is uninsured, then many insurance policies provide coverage for uninsured motorists, and you may use this coverage under such circumstances. There will likely be a deductible (also known as an excess) that you will be required to pay, but the remainder of repairs will then be completed by your insurance provider.
Getting Your Car to The Body Shop
If Your Car Can be Driven
If, after an accident, your car is drivable, and the accident is not your fault, then contact the insurance company of the other driver to ask for an estimated cost for the repair of your car. Depending on the insurance company, they may ask you to provide three quotations for repair, and they will then select the lowest quote you provide. Sometimes, an insurance company may have a dedicated estimator for your area, and you will have to drive your car to them for an estimate for repairs.
If the repair shop of your choice is not convinced that the quote that the insurance company provided is sufficient for repairs, have them contact the insurance company. Take a deep breath! The culpable party’s insurance company will, at the end of the day, have your car repaired, but they will try to get the lowest possible quote that will repair your car to a roadworthy state again.
If Your Car Cannot be Driven
If your car must be towed for repairs, then ensure that you find an auto repair shop of your choice reasonably soon, as most storage lots require a fee to be paid for however long your vehicle remains in storage. The towing fee itself may be covered under your own insurance and can be reimbursed later when the other driver’s insurance pays out.
If Your Car Is Written Off
If your car is damaged to a point that the cost of repair is higher than the worth of the car’s sale price before the accident, then your insurance company can offer you the lower sum of the two. This is then considered to be a case that has been written off.
Legal Representation for Claiming Your Damages
If you find yourself in a particularly complicated situation, short of time and in urgent need of help, or simply need to be sure that you get what you are truly due, then call or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. We will help you navigate everything related to claims, repairs, and coverage, and get you back on the road in no time. If you have suffered from or in an accident and are looking for a legal expert on car accidents in the Houston area, call us today for a free consultation at 713-677-2159 so that you are paid the damages to which you are entitled.
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