If I’m in an auto accident, who fixes my car?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
One of the most frequent questions I am asked by clients involved in auto accidents is “who is going to fix my car and what do I do now?” Understandably, many people are confused by the process regarding property damage and have no idea what they should do to get their vehicle fixed.
The Defendant’s insurance company is responsible
If your accident was caused solely by one other person, their insurance company will have a duty to either fix your vehicle or give you the fair market value of the vehicle. Under Florida law, the insurance company is required to provide you with the lower of the two amounts. For example, if your vehicle has suffered $5,000.00 in damage but the fair market value of the vehicle is $3,500.00, the insurance company will be required to total your vehicle and pay you $3,500.00. If the damage to the vehicle will cost less to repair than the fair market value of the vehicle, the insurance company will be required to pay to repair the vehicle.
What if the Defendant’s insurance company won’t accept responsibility?
If the Defendant’s insurance company won’t accept responsibility, they are arguing that either you or some other person is liable for this accident. Florida is a comparative law jurisdiction. This means that more than one person can be liable for the same accident. It is possible for a jury to find the Defendant 90% at fault and find you 10% at fault. Also, a jury may find more than just two people were at fault and apportion fault amongst multiple parties. If this were to happen, you would be responsible for whatever percentage of fault that was applied to you. Many times, insurance companies argue that their driver was not completely at fault. In that instance, they will be unwilling to pay you completely for the damage to your vehicle.
Will my insurance company fight the Defendant’s insurance company?
Yes. There is nothing insurance companies hate more than paying claims. Your insurance company will fight the Defendant’s insurance company to get them to pay the claim. There will be an arbitration hearing amongst the insurance companies where a panel of “judges” will make a decision regarding apportionment of fault. Your insurance company will be required to comply with this decision.
What should I do if I have been in a accident?
If you have been injured in an accident and it was someone else’s fault, call the attorneys at the Law Office of Dell & Schaefer. Our attorneys will protect your rights and ensure that you are not misled by the insurance companies.