Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases
How do I get my car repaired or replaced after a car accident?
Under Florida’s No-fault insurance law every owner of a motor vehicle is required to carry $10,000 in property liability damage, including $10,000 in personal injury protection benefit coverage. See Section 324.022, Florida Statutes - Financial Responsibility for Property Damage. If you were not at-fault in the crash and the driver of the other vehicle was at-fault in the accident, then the at-fault person's property damage insurance should pay your car's property damage up to the limits in the policy. That said, there may be reasons why you may want to have your own automobile insurance company pay for property damage to your motor vehicle. This all depends on the type of coverage you have on your vehicle. For example, one important reason for you to have your insurance company pay your car damage is it may be faster and easier to settle your property damage claim with your insurance company rather than chasing down the at-fault auto-insurance company. Again, this will depend on the type of property damage coverage you have under your policy. Your auto-insurance company may be required to pay you property damage if you have certain types of coverage like collision under your policy. In addition, you may have rental insurance under your policy. However, if your auto-insurance pays for the property damage under the collision portion of your policy you will normally have to pay a deductible under your policy which in most cases around $250. If your insurance company pays for the property damage, your insurance company will have a right to be reimbursed from the at-fault party’s auto-insurance for whatever was paid. This is called a right of subrogation.
If you purchased rental insurance, you will be provided rental reimbursement for the number of days for which you purchased under the terms of your policy with your automobile-insurance. The at-fault party may only be willing to pay rental for a short period of time or for a limited amount of days. This determination differs from insurance company to insurance company. The at-fault driver or owner's auto-insurance will determine the rental allowance normally for the time it takes to make the repair or a time to find a replacement car . This time is limited to a short time period. If you have rental insurance under your auto-policy, it will have a set number of days for the rental spelled out in the automobile insurance policy, for example, 30 days. Generally, the range is 15-30 days and depends on your insurance company and the policy coverage for rental insurance. The lawyers at Moody Law will be happy to guide you through this process should you have any questions.
How is the property damage cost to repair my car determined, or if my car is totaled, how is the replacement value to my car determined?
A car owner who’s motor vehicle was damaged in an accident by a negligent driver is allowed to claim property damages in the amount of the cost of repair to their vehicle or the fair market value of their vehicle, if the vehicle is totaled. In other words, in Florida, the at-fault driver or auto-insurance company of the at-fault motorist, is required to pay you the actual repair cost (ARC) if your car needs only a repair, or the fair market value (FMV) of your car, if your car is declared total loss or totaled. Repair value cost are supposed to be determined or estimated using Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cost parts for the repair. Specifically, Section 626.9743(3), Florida Statutes, states, “An insurer that elects to repair a motor vehicle and specifically requires a particular repair shop for vehicle repairs shall cause the damaged vehicle to be restored to its physical condition as to performance and appearance immediately prior to the loss at no additional cost to the insured or third party claimant other than as stated in the policy.” Replacement value is based on the fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the crash. You should try and obtain as many comparable motor vehicle values in the local market that are similar to your vehicle or of the same year, make, model, and mileage to your car. These comparisons can then be used in determining the replacement value of your car or motor vehicle. You should research, find and use sources like Autotrader, CarGurus, Carfax, TrueCar and your local car dealers for comparisons. Guide books such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA are car trading sources that should be considered and possibly used. Should you want more detail on how the settlement practice establishing property damage value works, please see Sections 626.9743 and Section 319.30(3), Florida Statutes.