Who Will Be Responsible for Fixing My Car if I’m Hurt in an Accident That’s Not My Fault?
The answer to this question is that normally the at-fault driver's insurance company will be responsible for taking care of the property damage on your vehicle if the other driver is at fault for the wreck. In Virginia, if you get hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident two separate cases arise. The first case is related to any injuries you suffered and getting compensated for medical bills, lost wages or any other harm to your person. That's what my law firm Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers does in helping represent people in personal injury cases.
As part of any personal injury case, I also give advice to my clients about how to get their car fixed and back on the road. The normal answer to the question is that the insurance for the car owner that hit you is the one who should pay to fix your car and get you a rental car while your car is in the shop.
There can be problems sometimes where the insurance company for the at-fault driver is unresponsive or claims that they have to wait to hear from their insured driver before making a decision about responsibility. Under those circumstances, our clients sometimes choose to use their own automobile insurance to cover the property damage and get their car fixed as soon as possible. Normally what'll happen if you choose to use your own insurance company instead of waiting for the at-fault driver's is that there'll be a deductible of $200.00 or $500.00 that you have to pay in the short run. Eventually, your insurance company should get their money back and your deductible back from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Rental coverage is a separate issue. If you choose to go through your insurance company to make it quicker and easier then you only get a rental car if you've paid for rental insurance coverage on your policy. Unfortunately, many people don't bother to get that kind of coverage.
Getting a Rental Can Be Difficult After a Car Crash
When I'm representing somebody in a personal injury case I normally am not representing them in the property damage claim. However, if my clients ever have a question about the property damage I'm happy to try to point them in the right direction. If they run into a real jam with the insurance company over the property damage claim then I will often step in and do what is necessary to make sure that it comes out the way it's supposed to.
One final note about property damage is if the car's repairs are close to the value of the vehicle then the car will be "totaled." When a car is totaled it simply means that it's not worth repairing in the eyes of the insurance company. They will then simply cut a check to you for the value of your vehicle. You're still entitled to a rental car up until the time that the check is delivered to you.
However in cases where the injured person's car is totaled they often feel ripped off by the insurance companies. The problem is that the value of the car may not be enough money to actually get a replacement of equal use to them. It may be that the person who is making the claim owes money to a lender on the vehicle that is in excess of the value of the vehicle leaving them with a shortfall or gap.
In almost every circumstance the person would rather just have their car as it was before the person carelessly hit them than to have a check. Even in the best of circumstances you need to now go out and get another car and that creates a huge inconvenience particularly when it happens at the same time that you've suffered a serious personal injury. What I usually say to my clients at the beginning of the case is you will probably feel ripped off by the insurance companies on the property damage. My hope and expectation is I will do enough good for you on the personal injury case to take some of the sting out of the bad deal that you will get on the property damage claim.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Virginia or north eastern North Carolina due to the fault of another,please call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077 for a free consultation.