Who Is Responsible For Repairs After A Car Accident In Miami?
According to auto insurance facts and statistics provided by the Insurance Information Institute (III), Florida is the fifth-most expensive state when it comes to annual car insurance expenditures. If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, a number of different players may be responsible for paying your repair costs. Everything will ultimately come down to who was at fault for the accident, the type of car insurance coverage you have, and whether or not the at-fault motorist responsible for damaging your vehicle is insured.
To help you make the right move, here is everything you need to know about your rights and the claim options at your disposal, as well as the steps you need to take after sustaining vehicle damage in an accident.
Miami Car Accident Repair Claim Options
The first rule is to know that the person or entity responsible for your car accident can be held liable for all repair costs, including everything from major body work to minor scratches. If your vehicle is deemed a “total loss,” the responsible driver will then be on the hook for the actual cash or market value of your car at the time the accident occurred.
Here are your car repair claim options.
Scenario 1: Another Motorist Caused the Collision
If another road user led to your accident, that driver – most likely through their insurer – is responsible for your damages. Many times, it’s as simple as that.
However, it can still become complicated.
At times, the driver at fault for your accident and their insurer won’t accept responsibility for your losses. The insurance company could deny the claim thinking that (1) you will just go away without pursuing the case, or (2) they will win if the case goes to trial.
There is also the likelihood of the insurance company not contacting its insured client. In that case, the company will do what insurers do best: stall.
What if the Insurance Company of the At-Fault Driver Refuses to Pay Your Claim?
In case the insurer of the at-fault motorist refuses to pay your car repair claim, you can turn to your own insurance company. Your insurer may help pay for your damage claim, but it will not take the bill lightly. They will initiate a claim against the responsible insurance company via a mechanism known as Nationwide Inter-Company Arbitration. This is where insurers battle each other behind closed doors to solve disputes. However, it will rarely get this far if the other driver was at fault. In most cases, the company will force the at-fault driver’s insurance company to be realistic about things and pay for your claim.
What Happens if the Driver Responsible for Your Accident Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, every motorist must hold auto insurance of $15,000 for property damages, $30,000 for bodily injuries per person, and $60,000 in all for bodily injuries sustained in an accident.
Two complications are common. First, the at-fault driver may be uninsured. Second, the at-fault driver may not have sufficient insurance (i.e. he or she is underinsured).
In both scenarios, you can get your insurance company to cover the gap between what you need for total damages and how much you are paid from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your uninsured and underinsured motorist cover will come to play in this case. The same applies to hit and run accidents.
Scenario 2: You Caused the Car Accident
Even if you were the cause of the crash, you should be in good shape so long as you have insurance coverage. Your insurer should repair your car using your collision insurance cover and pay for the repairs of the other driver’s car as well.
However, you’ll be out of your deductible in this case, and your insurance rates will most likely go up. If you didn’t have car insurance at the time of the accident, the insurance company of the other driver will take up their repair case through a process called subrogation, and could eventually sue you.
The lesson to learn here is that every Miami driver should have motor vehicle insurance, and should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having caused or being struck in a car accident, contact us for help with navigating the claims and insurance processes.
Call Us Today for Help with Car Accident Repairs
Despite the fact that insurance companies exist to relieve the financial burdens faced by accident victims, they don’t always honor their promises or offer fair settlements after-the-fact. In reality, adjusters are experts at getting unwitting victims of motor vehicle accidents to accept offers of compensation lower than what the victims truly deserve. Because of this, it is important to have an insurance claim expert by your side to see to it that you get the settlement that you rightfully deserve.
Our Miami car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience in the insurance and claims fields. We will devise a personalized strategy for you to get the maximum settlement you are entitled to by aggressively negotiating with insurance companies and by providing expert litigation when the need arises. Call us today at 305-853-9171 to speak with a seasoned attorney and to learn about the steps you need to take to file a claim.