Who Pays to Fix My Car After an Accident?
So here you are in a place you definitely do not want to be. You just got into an accident that was not your fault and your car has been seriously damaged. You may have been able to drive your car away from the scene, or maybe your car was totaled, and you have had to get it towed to a repair shop. At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, we feel your pain, and our experienced Longmont car accident lawyers have answers to your questions.
In this article we will provide basic answers to the question of who pays to fix my car after an accident in Colorado. Because there is only so much we can put in an informational article like this, if you have been in a serious car accident anywhere in Colorado, we invite you to call Longmont car accident attorneys today at 303-543-1000 for a free consultation about your car, truck accident, or bike accident. Once we know the details about your case, we can provide you tailored information that fits your circumstances, and our team is happy to speak with you.So, Who Pays to Fix or Replace My Car if the Accident Was Not My Fault?
From a “who pays to fix my car” standpoint, the most important question following a crash is who was at fault. If you were not at fault for the crash the general rule is that the person who caused the crash is liable for your damages, including the property damage (damage to your car) and personal injury (damage to your “person”). Our Longmont car accident lawyers will tell you that, because Colorado driver’s must carry auto insurance, most property damage claims are processed directly through the at-fault driver’s insurance.
If the at-fault driver is insured, then his or her auto insurance is responsible for the cost of repairing or cost of replacing your vehicle if it has been deemed a total loss.When Your Vehicle is a Total Loss
If your car has been deemed a total loss after an accident, Colorado law entitles you to recover the fair market value of your specific vehicle (accounting for mileage, condition, improvements, etc.). Your car’s fair market value is determined by comparing the cost to buy a vehicle like yours, typically by using sources like Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, Craigslist, the insurance company’s own database, etc. If you made certain improvements to your vehicle like new tires, a new sound system, etc., then you can present the receipts for those improvements for consideration, and theoretically reimbursement, by the at-fault party’s insurance company.When Your Vehicle Needs Repair
A good Longmont car accident attorney will advise you that in Colorado you can take your car to a repair facility of your choice, and you can and should get a second or third repair estimate. We recommend that you go to the body shop(s) that you feel most comfortable with. When the person who hit you has auto insurance, you should not need to pay your deductible when it comes time to pay for your repair costs – but there are some circumstances when might be faster and easier to go through your own insurance, and we will discuss this scenario later in this article.Will the At-Fault Driver Pay for ALL of My Repair Costs?
Some of our clients have come to us complaining that the at-fault driver’s insurance will not pay for all the costs needed to repair their car or truck. In Colorado, insurance policies must carry a minimum of $15,000 in property damage coverage. At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, we often see crashes where the cost to repair the damage to the car exceeds the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. This usually happens if you have a luxury car like a Lexus or Range Rover, for example, and the person who hit you has only the minimum coverage. When this happens, the at-fault driver is considered “underinsured” and you can tap into your Underinsured Motorist Coverage, if you have it, to cover the difference between the $15,000 the at-fault driver has and the total cost to repair your vehicle (up to your own insurance limits).Can I Go Through My Own Insurance?
We cannot tell how you how often our clients tell us that the at-fault driver’s insurance is taking what seems like forever to process their property damage claim. Whether the insurance company is not responding to your calls, calling you back at odd hours, or is generally unresponsive, our Longmont car accident lawyers will advise you that you can always make your property damage claim through your own insurance carrier. Often, using your own insurance company is faster and a friendlier process than going through the at-fault’s carrier. The Colorado insurance carriers that generally drag their feet are those that insure higher risk drivers like the General, Fred Loya, Viking, Dairyland, Sentry, etc. We generally do not see as many significant delays with the larger carriers – although it does happen.Will I Need to Pay My Deductible?
One thing to know if you go through your own insurance is that you will initially be responsible for paying your deductible. Once your car repairs are complete, your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will either go through arbitration or mediation to determine who was at fault for your crash. If it is determined that you were not at fault, then the other insurance company will reimburse your insurance company for the cost of repairs AND the cost of your deductible will be refunded to you. Unfortunately, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or it is determined that you were at fault for the crash, then you will not get your deductible back.Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
At Cook, Bradford & Levy, LLC, our Longmont car accident attorneys have decades of collective experience successfully resolving serious car accidents across Colorado. We can help give you answers to your property damage questions in a friendly and professional manner. If you have been in a serious car accident, we invite you to call our team of Longmont accident lawyers today at 303-543-1000 so we can determine how to best assist you with your case.