Who should Pay for Your Car Damages?
(The answer is not as clear as you may think.)
If the other driver admits that the accident was his or her fault, or if the facts of the case (eg: you were rear-ended) eliminate any dispute as to who is liable, the other driver’s insurance should pay for the repairs. Simply telephone that insurance company, report the accident, and request a claim number to give to the body shop. This way, you avoid paying your policy's collision deductible, which can range from $250 to $1,000.
However, when the other driver's insurance company pays, there are two disadvantages. They may insist on choosing the body shop. They can also require that you give a recorded statement before they will pay for your repairs. This statement can be used against you later if you present a claim for bodily injuries. Your lawyer should advise and prepare you for any statement you make.
If liability is disputed, or if you need your car repaired quickly, check to see if your auto insurance policy contains collision coverage. If so, your insurance will pay for your repairs, minus the deductible. If your insurer successfully arbitrates against the other driver’s insurance company, you'll be reimbursed for the deductible – typically within four to six months.
A good Lawyer always thinks ahead.
In either case, ask for a Repair Estimate and photograph the damage to your car. As your lawyer, I use the photos and estimate to support your claim of bodily injury. For example, if it costs $10,000 to replace your rear quarter panels, bumper and trunk, the extensive repairs reinforce the argument that your car was forcefully struck, giving a jury more reason to believe that your injuries were severe.
The point is, a seemingly simple decision regarding which insurance company should pay can affect the success of your bodily injury claim. To discuss this and other issues for free with an expert, call me, Attorney Andrew Goldberg, at 610-892-7744 .