Responsibility for car repairs after an accident depends on who is at fault and the type of insurance coverage they have. In general, the insurance company for whoever caused the accident must pay for vehicle damage. This means that if you are not at fault, the other driver’s insurance will usually cover your repairs. If you caused the accident, your liability insurance will pay for repairs to other vehicles. If you have collision coverage, it will pay for the damage to your car.
When a driver does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance to cover all the damage, the driver is personally responsible for paying for the repairs and you may recover money from the other driver directly. Or, if you have optional uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your own car insurance policy, that coverage may pay for your repair costs.
How does a car repair claim work?
When you report a car accident to the insurance company, the insurance company opens a claim and assigns an adjuster to the case. The adjuster will evaluate the circumstances of the accident and determine who is at fault. The adjuster will also want your car to be inspected before authorizing any repairs. Some insurance companies have their own inspectors who will come out and look at your car, and others want you to take your car to a repair shop. The insurance company may require you to use certain repair shops.
Once there is an inspection and repairs are authorized, you may have two options, depending on the insurance company. One is to get a check from the insurance company, either based on the estimate or after repairs have been completed. You can then use this check to pay the repair shop. The other approach is to have the insurance company pay the repair shop directly.
What is a diminished value claim?
In addition to paying for the repairs to your car, Georgia also allows you to make an insurance claim for the “diminished value” of your car, even if you were at fault in the accident. Your car may have been fixed perfectly, but a buyer may not want to pay as much when you go to sell it, simply because of its accident history. The diminished value is the difference between what your car was worth before the accident and what it is worth after the accident damage has been repaired.
Who is responsible for damage if the driver wasn’t the car’s owner?
The general rule is that insurance follows the car, not the driver. This means that if your friend borrows your car and causes an accident, your insurance company will probably be the one to pay. Your friend’s car insurance may provide secondary coverage if the damage exceeds the limits of your insurance policy. The same principle will usually apply if another car’s driver caused the accident and was not the car’s owner.
What if the driver who caused the accident was uninsured?
If an uninsured driver caused the accident, it can be hard to collect your repair costs from the other driver directly because uninsured drivers also often don’t have much money. There are, however, ways to recover money in an uninsured motorist accident, including making a claim against the optional uninsured motorist coverage insurance of your own policy, making a claim against a third party such as an employer or manufacturer, or pursuing claims under other types of insurance policies.
Uninsured motorist claims can be complicated, especially when there are serious injuries in addition to vehicle damage. If you have been injured in an accident, a consultation with a car accident attorney can help you understand if you have a claim, who must pay, and what you can expect in the process. When you hire an attorney, you greatly increase your chance of a full financial recovery – for both your injuries and the damage to your car.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our law firm is devoted to just one thing: getting money for accident victims. Our services are easy to afford – we don’t charge you unless we win you money. Let us give you a FREE consultation to go over your claim and answer your questions. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.