Car crashes can result in significant damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle has been damaged in a Charlotte car accident, you need to know how to get your vehicle repaired or replaced. Depending on the nature and extent of damages, a Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you with this.
A crucial aspect of having your damaged vehicle repaired or replaced is to understand who will bear the costs. This ultimately depends on whose negligence caused the crash. If you can prove that another driver was at-fault and negligent in causing the accident, you can seek the costs of vehicle repair or replacement from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Actual Cash Value and Total Loss
The Actual Cash Value, also known as ACV, is the pre-accident market value of your car. The ACV depends on the make, model, year, condition, and a number of factors. This is an important metric that is used by the insurance companies in order to determine whether to pay you for vehicle repairs or vehicle replacement.
In general, if your vehicle is damaged extensively so that the repair costs will be 50% to 70% or more of the ACV, the insurer will likely declare the vehicle as total loss. You will then be paid a sum of money according to the ACV of your vehicle. You can use this payout towards purchasing a new vehicle to replace your damaged vehicle.
The damaged vehicle itself is usually handed over to the insurer after it has been declared as total loss and you receive payment for it. The insurer sends the vehicle to the salvation yard. You can strike a deal with the insurer to pay for the vehicle and keep it if you think it’s worth it.
Who Pays for Vehicle Repair or Replacement?
You may have one or more options to have your vehicle repaired or replaced in the event of an accident. These include:
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurer: This is possible when another driver caused the crash resulting in vehicle damage. You can file a claim for vehicle repair damages with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, the insurer in such a claim is liable to pay you damages only if the other driver has the relevant coverage. Even if the other driver has the relevant coverage, the insurer will pay only up to the policy limits of the other driver. You may find that this is not sufficient to cover the costs of repairs in some cases.
Your Own Insurance Coverage: You can seek damages from your own insurance company to cover your vehicle repair costs. This is a viable option when you were at-fault in the crash, or when the at-fault driver has little property damage coverage. When filing with your insurer, you can seek vehicle repair damages under your collision coverage or comprehensive coverage. However, comprehensive coverage applies only when your vehicle damage occurred while your car was parked.
Getting a Fair Estimate for Repairs
When you file a claim to get your vehicle repaired with an insurer, you will typically be required to bring your vehicle to the insurer for inspection. If that is not possible, a person from the insurance company will come and inspect your vehicle at its location. Based on this inspection, the insurer will create an estimate of the expected costs of getting the vehicle repaired.
The insurer may then ask you to visit a recommended mechanic for repairs. You also have the right to instead choose a mechanic of your own choice. This allows you to get a separate, independent estimate to get the vehicle repaired.
If you, the insurer, and the mechanic finally agree on the overall costs of repairs, you can have the repair process initiated. If there is a dispute, you can negotiate with the insurer and the mechanic to reach a common ground.
Why Hire a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have suffered vehicle damage in a Charlotte car accident, it is important to get legal help. As noted, the process of having your vehicle inspected, getting repair estimates, and choosing between repairing and replacing a vehicle is a long and daunting process. You will need a lawyer by your side to negotiate the fair amount of damages with the insurance company.
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we work with you to determine a fair estimate for vehicle damage as well as other losses you may have suffered in a Charlotte accident. Call us today to consult our lawyers in a free consultation and discuss your claim.