How Do I Get My Car Repaired?
One of the most frequently asked questions for the Miami car accident lawyers at the Wolfson Law Firm is about car repairs. While our attorneys work diligently to assist our clients in the investigation and presentation of their personal injury cases, we understand that the damage to a client’s car is an immediate concern.
The short answer? If you can go through your own insurance company, then that is the quickest and fastest way to go in almost every case. Here are the questions that help determine when, and by whom, a car will be repaired.1. Who is at Fault?
If the accident was clearly not your fault, then the at fault driver will be responsible for your property damage. However, Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means that responsibility may be apportioned by the degrees of fault. For example: in a rear end collision, typically the vehicle which struck the rear of the other vehicle is at fault. If both drivers, and their insurance companies, agree on the issue of negligence then the rear-ending driver should be responsible for the property damage. But if the rear-ending driver alleges that the car that they struck stopped suddenly or unexpectedly both drivers, and their insurance companies will argue that each driver shares a percentage of fault for the accident.
Florida law requires all motor vehicle owners to have a minimum property damage liability insurance in the amount of $10,000. It is possible that the other driver has more than $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. If the damages to your vehicle exceed the policy limits of the other driver, then that other driver or owner will be responsible for the excess amount of property damages if they were mostly or completely at fault. Your Miami car accident lawyer can explain the issues of comparative negligence and the limits of insurance in greater detail depending on the facts of your loss.
If the facts of your accident are complicated, you can expect that the insurance company for the other driver will use this to their advantage. The other insurance company will argue that their driver is not 100% at fault and therefore is not 100% responsible for the damages to your vehicle. Ultimately, fault for an accident will be determined either by agreement or by a jury. But understand this – any argument that you were at fault, either partially or completely, will delay the repair of your vehicle. So unless the insurance company for the other driver takes full responsibility, you may need to look to your own insurance company for repairs.2. What is Covered?
The biggest question following any kind of car accident involves the type of insurance that you have for your vehicle. Specifically, do you have collision coverage? This is a specific type of coverage that you should purchase but it is not legally required. When you purchase your insurance, you should seriously consider purchasing collision coverage and uninsured motorist coverage so that you have greater protection and more options following any car accident.
If you have collision coverage, this is usually the easiest and fastest way for you to get your car repaired. If you have a deductible under this coverage, then you will need to pay that deductible as part of your repairs. For example: if you had a $500 deductible on your collision coverage and the repairs to your vehicle totaled $2500 then your insurance company would pay the repair shop $2000 and you would be responsible to pay the other $500.
At some point, you may recover that $500 from the other driver’s insurance company through what is called subrogation. What that means is after your insurance company repairs your vehicle they make a claim against the other insurance company for the total amount of the repairs. If the other insurance company pays the total amount of the repairs to your insurance company, then your insurance company would return the amount of your deductible to you.
The important thing to remember is this: after a car accident, the quickest and easiest way to get your vehicle repaired is likely to be through your own insurance company if you have the right coverage. Our Miami car accident attorneys have assisted personal injury victims and getting their cars fixed and repaired after accidents since 1963. In our experience, going through your own insurance company is the best and fastest way to go.
3. Rental Car – Who Pays?
If your car is in the shop, you might wonder if you can get a rental vehicle. That answer depends on several different factors. If you are going through your own insurance company, the question is whether you have rental coverage. If you don’t, then your insurance company will not pay for your rental car. If you do rent a vehicle and the accident was the fault of the other driver, then your rental car expense is an item of damage that you can claim against the other driver.
If the other driver’s insurance company has agreed that their insured driver was at fault and they agreed to pay for the repairs to your vehicle, then they will likely provide you with a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. But you should be careful with the amount of time that you use the rental vehicle because insurance companies will argue as to the type of vehicle and the length of time that you need the rental. Therefore, it is important to coordinate your rental with both the insurance company and the repair shop so that there is no dispute as to uncovered rental expenses.Miami Car Accident Lawyer
If you are injured in a car accident in Miami or anywhere in South Florida, the Miami car accident attorneys of the Wolfson Law Firm can help. We can answer your questions about your injuries, the process, and yes, even your property damage.
Our team of lawyers will work diligently, aggressively, and professionally to help you get the recovery and the justice you deserve. All you have to do is call us for your free consultation at (305) 285-1115. Our main office is located in Miami and we have offices in West Palm Beach and Broward County where we can meet with you by appointment at your convenience.