In most cases, the other driver’s insurance company will pay to fix your car – if they are prepared to acknowledge that their customer was at fault.
Most of the time, a police officer will be called to investigate your accident. After talking to you and the other driver, the police officer will write up a police report. The police officer will also issue a ticket or tickets to the at-fault driver.
While the police officer’s decision about who to ticket is not a binding ruling, our experience has been that most of the time, the driver who gets the ticket will ultimately end up paying a fine for a moving violation when the case goes to traffic court. Remember that most of the time, liability is clear – if the other driver rear ended you, or ran a red light or stop sign, then the other driver will get a ticket for following too closely or for failure to yield the right of way.
After the other driver reports the accident to his insurance company, that company will request a copy of the police report, talk to their customer and make a decision about whether to accept liability. If they do agree to accept liability, then the other driver’s insurance company will take financial responsibility for fixing your car.
Cases of Disputed Liability
If the other driver’s insurance company decides not to accept liability, we would need to turn to your insurance company to set up a property damage claim. Your insurer will pay for your property damage and, if appropriate, later on file a lawsuit against the other driver to recoup what it has paid out. This process is called subrogation.
If you do not have property damage insurance coverage, we would wrap the property damage claim and the bodily injury claim into an overall case settlement, or your case would be heard by a judge or jury.
How Fast Will my Car Get Fixed if There is Insurance Coverage?
When there is insurance coverage (either the other driver’s insurance company or yours), the insurance adjuster will want to find out how much it will cost to repair your vehicle and if your car should be declared a total loss. Sometimes, the adjuster will send out an employee to look at the vehicle, sometimes they will ask you to take the vehicle to one of their mechanics, and sometimes they will rely on whatever mechanic or body shop you have taken your car.
Once the adjuster gets a repair estimate, he/she will compare the repair cost to the approximate value of your vehicle. If the cost to repair exceeds the value, then the adjuster will declare the vehicle totaled. The adjuster will then make you an offer, usually based on the wholesale value of your car.
If your vehicle is worth fixing then the adjuster will issue a check payable to you and the mechanic/body shop. Normally the payment will be issued in just a few days.
Property damage payments, by the way, go 100% to you – there is no attorney’s fee associated with our handling of property damage claims.
Rental Car Coverage
Depending on the insurance coverage, you may also be eligible for rental car reimbursement up to a certain amount per day – usually around $20 per day. If your vehicle is deemed a total loss, however, insurance will not pay for rental car payment.
Let Us Know if We Can Help You
If you have questions about property damage claims or any other issue arising from your car accident, please reach out to us – we are happy to help.