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What Are My Vehicle Repair Options Following A Car Accident in Miami?
If you’ve been in a car accident in Miami and need to have your car repaired, you’re going to want to know who needs to pay for those repairs. The easy answer is that it will be dependent on which state the accident occurred in. Who was at fault, the amount of property damage coverage the other driver has, and the amount and coverages that you have. Let’s take a moment and examine each of these variables.
Negligence Vs No-Fault States
The liability in a car wreck is based on negligence. That is to say, who is at fault unless of course, you’re in a no-fault state wherein there are limited exceptions to this negligence rule.
Traditionally, in an at-fault state, there must be proof that the other party was negligent to get damaged by that driver or their insurance.
In a no-fault state, like Florida, if you’re involved in a car wreck, your car insurance will pay for some, or in some cases, all, of your damaged. This is dependent on the state laws where you reside. However, in a no-fault state, the no-fault coverages won’t apply to the damage that is done to the vehicle so you’ll want to understand how it works in your particular state.
In all states, the insurance company will only pay up to the amount of the policy limits.
Regardless of where your wreck happens, whether it be a no-fault state or another state, the insurance company is only going to pay out the amount of the policy, never more.
Example, in a fault state, the other party was at fault and your damages were $10,000 to your vehicle. However, they only had $5000 of coverage for property damages. Therefore, their insurance is only going to pay out $5000 for the repair costs.
What If The Repairs Exceed The Value Of My Car?
Keep in mind that the insurer is only required to pay out for damages that are up to the value of the car. If the repairs exceed the value of the car, then they will declare the vehicle a total loss. They’ll pay you the fair market value or Blue Book value of the car, this is also referred to as “actual cash value”.
Keep in mind that with property damages, the amount of the claims are based on the total value of the property when the accident happens. This has nothing to do with what you paid for the vehicle.
Using My Own Collision Coverage
Collision coverage makes sure that you’ll get what you deserve for your vehicle damages if the other party doesn’t have enough coverage or if you’re at fault for the wreck. If they were at fault and had plenty of insurance, you wouldn’t make any claims against your insurance policy’s collision coverages.
Using My Own Policy’s Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverages for vehicles that are damaged when cars are parked is called comprehensive coverage. Both the accident and the miscellaneous damages such as a tree falling on your car are covered under the comprehensive coverages. If someone hit your car and had plenty of insurance you wouldn’t use your coverages, you would use theirs. Typically, you don’t have to stress over someone hitting a parked car and proving that it was parked. They would be at fault if they hit you.
What If You Were At Fault For The Damages To Your Vehicle?
If you were the cause of the damages by driving off of the road, running into a fence or tree, you would have to make the repairs yourself and pay for them or claim them on your own insurance policy. This would be under collision coverage. If you had a collision, you may wish to not claim them if they were minor. That may raise your insurance premium and it may cost you more in the long run.
Getting The Insurer To Pay For The Cost Of Repairs
It doesn’t matter who is responsible for the repairs, the first thing that must be done is a claim must be reported after the wreck.
Then, the insurer will have your car taken to an inspection station. There, the inspector will check the car over. If you can’t drive your car, they will have the inspector come to your location or the location of the car.
The insurer will then determine an estimate for the repairs. This estimate may be enough for the repairs, or it may not be enough. The insurer may suggest that you take the car to a mechanic of their choice. You can always choose your own mechanic, but keep in mind that they may not agree to this. It’s on a case by case basis.
Once you’ve got an estimate, take your car to the mechanic and find out if they will accept the estimate from the insurance company. If so, then you’re set. If not, then they will often call and talk to the insurance adjuster and discuss the potential for a higher rate. Typically, they can work this out without any intervention.
If You And The Insurer Disagree On The Cost Of Repairs
If the final numbers don’t agree with your situation you have a few options. You can leave it be, or file a law suit. If you’re in a dispute with the insurance company and the amount is significant enough, you may wish to consult with Miami Car Accident Attorneys who is experienced at such claims. An attorney will make sure that your interest is considered and that the true value of your car is what is rewarded. This may or may not have to go to court. An insurance company will evaluate the potential suit and report back to the attorney.
Read More: Should You Hire A Miami Car Accident Lawyer?
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