Who Pays for My Vehicle Damage in California?

Motor vehicle accidents are incredibly common, but it is different when it happens to you. In this situation, you might not know what to do – or what your rights are. For example, if your car was damaged, who pays for any repairs?

California is an at-fault state. This means that the person who caused the crash and their car insurance company will be responsible for most or all of the losses. This may include paying for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Our Walnut Creek car accident attorneys can help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries.

Who Pays for My Vehicle Damage in California?

The Appel Law Firm LLP is dedicated to helping accident victims get maximum compensation for their losses. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury lawyers.

Is California a No-Fault State?

Some states are “no-fault” states. This means that when a person is involved in an auto accident, they must first seek compensation for property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages from their own insurance company. Once they have hit the limits of their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, they can pursue an insurance claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance company.

California is an at-fault state. This means that a person who was injured in any type of motor vehicle accident can seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.  While you must notify your own insurance company that you were in a crash, the other party’s insurer will be responsible for paying for your medical care, the cost of repairs for your vehicle, and more.

To protect all drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, California requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance. This includes:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person,
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and
  • $5,000 for damage to property (collision coverage)

These amounts often aren’t enough to pay for all of the expenses associated with an accident. If you are in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be able to file an insurance claim against your own car insurance policy to cover any outstanding bills.

What Happens If the Other Driver Was at Fault?

If another driver caused your crash, then they will be responsible for paying for any damage to your vehicle. Hopefully, the other driver will have at least the minimum insurance required by California law. If they don’t have insurance – or don’t have enough insurance to cover your losses – then you can file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim against your own policy. 

You can also get your car fixed using your own collision coverage if the at-fault party does not have insurance. Most insurance policies will pay to repair your vehicle no matter who was at fault for the wreck. However, you will have to pay the deductible and your insurance premiums may go up as a result.

The driver who caused the accident is technically responsible for paying your deductible. You can seek reimbursement for the deductible through their insurance claim and/or by filing a personal injury lawsuit against them. Keep in mind that if they don’t have insurance coverage, then it may be difficult to collect a judgment against them.

If the other party has insurance, then it should pay for the repairs to your vehicle and any deductible that you may have paid. It may also pay for the cost of your rental car while you wait for your car to be fixed. You do not have to use the mechanic or auto body shop recommended by the insurance company to get your car fixed.

An experienced Walnut Creek car accident lawyer can help you determine if you can hold the other driver or another party responsible. For example, depending on the facts of the case, you may be able to file a legal claim against the government agency responsible for maintaining the road or even the manufacturer of a defective car part. We will thoroughly investigate the case to hold all responsible parties liable for your losses.

Insurance adjusters often try to get accident victims to give up important rights by asking them to give a statement or sign a document. You should never talk to an insurance adjuster or sign anything without first talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies have a goal of paying out as little as possible on your claim. Protect your rights by reaching out to the Appel Law Firm LLP today to set up a free consultation.

What Happens If I Caused the Accident?

If you cause a motor vehicle accident, then your own auto insurance company will pay to repair your vehicle. If another car was damaged in the crash, then your insurance will pay for its repairs as well. You will be required to pay your deductible, but your insurance company should cover repair costs for your car as well as any damages suffered by the other driver. Having comprehensive coverage is key to making sure that both your losses and anyone else’s losses are covered.

If you do not have an auto insurance policy, then you will be forced to pay for any repairs and losses out of pocket. You may also be cited by the state for failure to carry insurance. Every driver in California is required to carry comprehensive coverage that includes bodily injury and property damage.

Of course, just because the other driver claims that you were to blame for a crash doesn’t necessarily mean that it is true. Fault in car accident cases can be complicated, and it is possible that more than one person was responsible for the collision. 

California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that it may be possible to file a claim and seek recovery even if you were to blame for a crash. As long as you were not 100% at fault for an accident, you can still pursue financial compensation. Your total recovery will then be reduced by the percentage that you were responsible.

As you can see, responsibility in car accident cases isn’t always clear-cut. It may be possible that the other driver bears some portion of the fault, or even that a third party is responsible. Our Walnut Creek car accident attorneys will work with you to determine who can be held liable for your car repairs and other losses.

Call Our Law Offices Today for Help Getting Coverage for a Car Accident

Being in a car accident can be scary and dangerous. It can also leave you without a car if it is damaged in the crash. Fortunately, either your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurer should pay for the repair costs and may even pay for other expenses like a rental car.
Based in Walnut Creek, the Appel Law Firm LLP advocates for the rights of injury victims in Northern California. We offer free consultations for all prospective clients and handle all claims on a contingency fee basis. To learn more or to set up an appointment with a Walnut Creek personal injury attorney, give us a call at 925-938-2000 or fill out our online contact form.

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