Recent statistics reflect that accidents on U.S. roadways cost over $230 billion a year, injuring millions and causing death to over 37,000 people yearly. This is a high price to pay in human terms, and related vehicle damage costs. When people are involved in a motor vehicle crash, one important question to answer is: who pays for car damage?
Who is Liable for Damage?
When a car accident is reported, the police reports often become a part of evidence used by insurance companies and attorneys to help determine who is liable for damage claims. One of the determining factors that can be revealed by these reports is if there was any negligent behavior that contributed to the accident event.
- Negligence – This is a concept that places responsibility upon the person or company that exhibited behavior that subsequently caused or contributed to an accident. With the privilege of driving comes a strong demand that the driver will use reasonable care to avoid harming others.
- Liability – Local, state and federal laws place liability upon the person who caused damages. The person who is determined to bear liability for an accident is the one who legally has the responsibility to pay for damage claims.
- Reasonable Care Duty – Drivers have the responsibility to exercise reasonable care when they operate a motor vehicle. This is a required duty that bears consequences if that duty is not performed. This means paying attention to road rules and traffic laws, watching the road ahead for hazards, driving within speed limits, making legal maneuvers and turns, stopping at red lights and stop signs and being careful in general when operating an automobile or other motor vehicle.
Once liability is determined, insurance companies and attorneys know who to pursue for monetary compensation for accident-related claims.
Drivers are required to carry an insurance policy to cover certain areas of liability. Costs for insurance are based on many things, including statistical risks by age, geographic factors and other elements that are calculated into insurance premium costs. Once a driver is determined to be at fault, or responsible, for a car accident because they were negligent, their insurance company is then the one to pay for accident costs. If the other driver is found to be liable, that person’s insurance company will be contacted by the other insurance company or an attorney to pay for damage claims.
Insurance companies work hard to pay as little as possible for car damage claims. They want to get accident scene statements that place responsibility somewhere else. They work hard to offer low settlements and to pay the least amount possible when pursued for payment. Even if you have good insurance, there may be damages not covered that you would need to pay.
If you are injured or received car damage in an accident, you are best served by contacting an experienced Car Accident Attorney immediately. Do not make any statements to others at the accident scene about fault without first speaking to your attorney. If you say the wrong thing innocently, you could lose some or all your potential compensation claim.
Car Accident Attorney
It is well worth contacting and working with an experienced Car Accident Attorney when you are in a car accident. If you have injuries, if someone is killed, or you just have vehicle damage, you fare best with competent legal support. Your attorney will have expert witnesses and other resources to call upon to uncover important evidence needed to win your case. They are familiar with state and local laws and court systems. This is important, as are any minute details that may contribute to assignment of liability for the accident.
Collecting for Damages
This is another area where your car accident attorney is most helpful. Collecting for damages is not always simple or easy. Insurance companies may balk and delay at making payments. Individuals may not have any money to pay you. You attorney can file a Personal Injury lawsuit on your behalf to establish your right to fair compensation. The courts can then enforce payments when other efforts fail. Ultimately, you may receive payment or not. When someone is insolvent or bankrupt, you will end up paying for all costs and damages, even if you were not at fault or responsible. In most cases, however, the injured party does receive compensation for their claims through the legal system.
Minimum Insurance Coverage
Certain states, like California, require specific coverage amounts. You also can obtain special coverage for uninsured motorists, should someone without insurance cause your car accident. California law for liability insurance requires minimum coverage for any motor vehicle used in the state. It includes $15,000 for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for more than one person, and $5,000 in property damage coverage. Drivers can, of course, carry higher coverage amounts. This is a good idea, because if you are liable for accident claims, your insurance coverage is only good for the maximum policy amount. When claims are higher, you would be personally responsible for paying additional damages.
Lawsuits for Damage Claims
A Car Accident Attorney will help you file lawsuits for damage claims. In some cases, the other driver may not have insurance coverage, but instead they have filed a cash deposit of $35,000 with the California DMV, a self-insurance policy with the DMV or a surety bond on file. To access this reserve, you may need a court order. If your lawsuit is based on negligence, you are subject to time limits. Your attorney can make sure your claims are filed within any state statute of limitations. They also will help you determine which course of legal action will bring best results.
Being in a car accident is just the beginning of a long list of problems to resolve. Determining who pays for car damage is one important issue to deal with immediately, so you can continue with accident recovery with the compensation you deserve.