You’ve been involved in an accident. After receiving the proper medical care, you’re left to wonder: Who is responsible for the damage to my car?
For accidents that include another driver, that person’s auto insurance company may be responsible for damages—especially if he or she was at fault. If you caused the accident and have collision coverage, your insurance company will most likely take care of your vehicle’s damage and pay for the other driver’s repairs.
This process gets complicated when an insurance company refuses to accept liability for the damage. In the state of Washington, insurance providers are required to cover repairs that restore your car to the way it was before the accident. They must also assist with “loss of use” transportation while your vehicle gets repaired—usually in the form of a rental car.
What to Do If Your Car is Totaled
If your vehicle’s damage exceeds the car’s fair market value, the insurance company may declare it a “total loss.” In this case, you receive compensation for what your vehicle was worth immediately preceding the accident.
Sometimes, you will not agree with the insurer on your car’s value. To dispute the value with your own insurance company, you can hire an outside appraiser to evaluate the vehicle’s worth. If you’re dealing with another driver’s insurance company, you can use your collision coverage to file a claim with your insurer—and if you don’t have collision coverage, you have the right to contact an attorney for legal advice.
Filing Your Property Damage Claim
Immediately following the accident, be sure to exchange insurance information with any other drivers involved. Do not leave before law enforcement arrives to compile an accident report—you’ll need these details to process your insurance claim.
In addition to the police report, document every aspect of the accident . Jot down notes about the road conditions, how fast you were driving, and any potential distractions in the area. Take as many photographs as possible, documenting exterior and interior damage, and any personal belongings inside your vehicle—including jewelry, eyeglasses, laptops, and mobile devices.
These details will help form a strong foundation for your property damage claim. If you’ve been involved in an accident, please reach out for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for compensation.