How to Get Car Repair Bills Paid After an Accident in California
After being injured in a car crash that was caused by the carelessness and negligence of somebody else, you’ll likely need a California car accident lawyer to pursue compensation for the injuries and damages that you suffered. Aside from your personal injury damages, you’ll have a property damage issue too for repairs to your vehicle. Here at Maison Law, our practice is focused on California personal injury law, but we can also provide you with guidance and insight on getting your vehicle repaired.
If you or a loved one need help getting car repair bills paid after an accident, contact us today for a free consultation and we will explain your rights to you.
The First Steps You Should Take
The first three things that you need to do after becoming a car accident victim are to call 911 to report the accident and notify your insurance company accordingly. Police will investigate the crash and compile a report, and your insurance company will open a file. Then, get to an emergency room or urgent care center right away for an examination and treatment. Don’t worry about your insurance premiums rising if you didn’t cause the crash. It’s against the law for insurers to do that in California, and for several reasons, you might need to make a claim with your own insurer.
The Insurance Situation
As you didn’t cause the crash, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Here’s how your property damage might be covered:
- Liability Insurance: Every driver in California is required to be covered by a minimum of $5,000 of property damage coverage. A claim can be made with the other driver’s insurer for repairs to your vehicle. Most California drivers carry more than the minimum required amount for property damage.
- Your Collision Coverage: If you maintain full coverage on your vehicle, it will include collision coverage. It will pay for repairs to your car up to the amount of your collision coverage limit, even if you were the person who caused an accident. This might be the fastest way of getting your vehicle repaired. You will be required to pay a deductible though, but if your insurer exercises its right of subrogation, you’ll probably get that back sometime in the future.
- Uninsured Motorist Insurance: If the driver who caused your accident was uninsured, you might make a claim if you have uninsured motorist property damage insurance. Such claims are limited to $3,500 though, and if you have collision coverage, you’ll probably want to make your claim through that anyway.
- Through Your Personal Injury Proceeds: If a personal injury claim or lawsuit is brought against the driver who caused your accident, sufficient net proceeds from that claim or lawsuit might be used by you to make necessary repairs to your vehicle.
When Repairs Cost More Than the Estimate
The opposing insurance company will likely want you to have your car repaired at a preferred shop Sometimes, additional damage is found that wasn’t apparent at the time of the estimate. Usually, the insurer will work this issue out with the body shop. If the insurer can’t come to an agreement with the shop on the hidden damage, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get it to make such repairs at no additional cost. You might need to pay for that hidden damage on your own.
When Your Car has been Totaled
There’s general agreement that if your car was damaged in an accident, and the cost of repairing it exceeds its fair market value, your car is rendered a total loss. In many cases, the vehicle owner still has a balance on his or her payments after a fair market value is determined. That’s when it’s inevitable that the owner is going to take a loss. If you own a new car or a car that’s just a couple of years old, you’ll want to speak with your insurance agent about gap insurance. This covers the difference between the actual cash value of your totaled vehicle and the amount that you still owe on it.
Contact a California Repair Bills Paid After an Accident Lawyer Today
After an accident anywhere in California, call 911 immediately and notify your insurance company right away. If you’ve been injured, get to an emergency room or urgent care center right away. Then, contact us at Maison Law for a free consultation and case review on your personal injury and property damage issues.