Car accidents in Atlanta, Georgia, have different types of consequences. Ideally, your car insurance should cover the costs of most problems. However, the conversation focuses more on physical bodily injuries, with a little talk about vehicle damage. A collision will likely cause minor or significant damage to a car, depending on the impact.
When a car gets damaged in an accident, most people find themselves asking who covers the vehicle repairs. There is no single answer to this question. The fact is, you may have more than one option of having your vehicle fixed depending on the at-fault party, the type of insurance coverage you have, and if the at-fault driver is insured.
Our Atlanta car accident lawyers discuss car insurance and repair options after a car accident. If you or a loved one need quality legal representation following a collision, contact Calvin Smith Law immediately. We are always available to help.
Who Pays to Fix a Damaged Car After an Accident?
The first thing to note is that the person responsible for a car accident is liable to pay damages to the victim or victims under Georgia law. The compensation generally covers injuries, vehicle repair, and other losses. Car repair here includes anything from minor scratches to significant bodywork.
It means that in a minor accident, where your vehicle only suffers a scratch or a fender bender, the at-fault party still has to pay for the repair. In cases where the car is totaled (damaged beyond repair), the at-fault driver will pay the actual market or cash value at the time of the collision.
While all these sound simple enough, paying for vehicle repair after an accident remains a problem that needs a solution. This takes us back to the question of who pays for fixing a damaged car after an accident. Let’s discuss the possible options.
The At-Fault Driver’s Liability Coverage
Georgia is one of the states in the U.S. that makes it compulsory for drivers to buy auto insurance liability coverage. Drivers are to have:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per accident for property damage liability
Property damage liability is what covers auto vehicle repairs. So, where your car sustains significant damage after a collision, the at-fault driver’s insurance kicks in to cover the repair. However, the insurance only covers the repairs up to the policy limits. Summarily, you can file a claim directly against the at-fault party’s insurer to get money to repair your damaged car.
Now, what happens where the at-fault party is uninsured? What if you were partly or substantially responsible for the accident? Or you’re convinced that you’re the victim and need your car fixed immediately? It takes us to the next option.
Your Auto Collision Coverage
There are situations where you may have to use your auto collision or physical damage coverage for your vehicle repair. If you have this insurance policy, it covers any necessary repair to your car or the value of a totaled vehicle, up to the coverage limits. This is regardless of who was at fault in the collision.
If you file a claim under your collision coverage, you may have to pay the deductible. Sometimes, you get the deductible back when the at-fault party’s insurer reimburses your insurance provider. At other times, you don’t. Note that collision coverage is not compulsory under Georgia law. You can choose to buy one, especially if you are lending or leasing a vehicle.
Pay Out of Pocket and Seek Reimbursement
This is usually the first and last option for some people. It’s the first if you need your car fixed immediately, but the at-fault party has no insurance, and you lack collision coverage. It’s the last option where the at-fault party has insurance, but their insurer delays payment, and you need to fix your car.
If you fix your vehicle out of pocket, you can seek reimbursement later from the at-fault driver’s insurer. The danger with fixing your car out of pocket and seeking reimbursement is that the insurance adjuster can dispute the amount spent and pay you less. Get an Atlanta car accident lawyer involved in the process to avoid getting cheated.
Need Help With a Property Damage Claim? Contact Calvin Smith Law
Whether you are claiming for bodily injuries and property damage or just one of both, you need a lawyer with you. Dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters is never easy, so you need someone with experience dealing with them. At Calvin Smith Law, our Atlanta auto accident attorneys have represented several clients before insurers and won. We’ll do the same for you, so contact us today for a free case review.