Vehicle Repair Bills
Payment for your vehicle repair costs is determined by who is at fault. If you were at fault, you will most likely be responsible for covering the repair costs for any damaged vehicles involved. If you are insured, your insurance policy may pay for the damages as long as they don’t exceed your policy limit. However, keep in mind that you may have to pay your deductible before your coverage will kick in.
If you were not at fault, you would ideally not have to pay anything. If the at-fault party is insured, his or her insurance company should cover any and all repair costs as well as pay for a rental vehicle that is comparable to your vehicle. However, that is not always the case.
In the event that the at-fault driver is uninsured, underinsured, or is refusing to accept liability—which unfortunately happens more than you might think—you may have to use your own insurance coverage after all. Your insurance company may then attempt to recover reimbursement through a process called “subrogation.” If they are successful, and if you had to pay your deductible before your coverage was able to kick in, you should be reimbursed as well.
If neither you nor the at-fault party has car insurance, this is when things get quite messy. No matter your situation, we highly recommend that you consult a legal professional before making any decisions.
Take Your Car to a Repair Shop You Trust
In addition to the question of who will pay your repair bills is the question of who should repair your car. Most insurance companies will try to refer you to a repair shop of their choosing. This is referred to as a “preferred shop.”
WARNING: If you take your car to a preferred shop, the mechanic has the insurance company’s best interest in mind—not yours. This means that they will oftentimes give you a lower damage appraisal so the insurance company doesn’t have to pay as much money. For this reason, we encourage you to always take your car to a mechanic you trust and have the insurance company pay the mechanic or the auto shop directly.
Oftentimes, you will hear people say that they “totaled” their car, but what does this mean? If it is determined that the cost to return your car to its pre-damaged state is more than the car’s value, it will be declared to be a “total loss.” You need to be able to trust that the person who is inspecting your car will be honest and will tell you if your car truly is totaled or not. You do not want to be driving around a vehicle that actually has more damage than you realize. This is another reason that we recommend that you always have your car inspected by a repair shop or mechanic that you trust.
For more answers to questions that we are frequently asked, click the links below:
For a 100 percent free consultation, fill out the form at the bottom of this page. IMPORTANT: By having a consultation, you are not hiring an attorney. You are merely explaining your situation and finding out if you have a claim or not. You are making no commitment and taking no risk by contacting an attorney. We highly recommend that you reach out to one—either ourselves or another equally qualified attorney—before you move forward with the aftermath of your car accident.