Automobile Damage FAQ

Car Repair Questions

Can I control whether my car is repaired or replaced?

For most people, getting back into their own vehicle, so long as it is safe, it a priority. Normally, the insurance company has the option to either repair or replace your vehicle, depending on whether it costs less to replace your vehicle than to repair it. If this is the case, the insurance company will declare your vehicle a "total loss," and take action to replace your vehicle. If your car is declared a "total loss," the insurance company buys your car for its market value (see below), which can be difficult to determine. If you wish to keep the wrecked car, you may purchase it back from the insurance company for its salvage value. The insurance adjuster can deduct the salvage value from the settlement and you can keep the car.

Often the situation is reversed, and the insurance company chooses to repair a vehicle rather than replace it. In this case, if you are concerned about the safety of the repaired vehicle, you should contact our office to discuss your options.

How is the market value of my car determined?

You are entitled to recover the "fair market value" or the "actual cash value" of your vehicle immediately before the accident. One common source used to estimate fair market value is the Kelley Blue Book.Other sources of information are the local newspaper or the AutoTrader, which may list the for-sale price of cars of the same make, model, and year as yours. Occasionally, an expert vehicle appraiser is used to help prove the value of your vehicle.

What kind of parts will be used in the repair?

You have the right to demand that only original manufacturer parts be used in the repair, so if your car is a Pontiac,you should receive genuine Pontiac (GM) parts. Since your car was probably not new at the time of the accident, however, the mechanic may use refurbished or reconditioned parts.

What if my car already had some damage before the accident?

If your vehicle had damage to it prior to the accident, it can be difficult to determine exactly what portion of the damage was caused by the accident itself. For example, if your car has a mechanical problem, the insurance company may claim that it existed prior to the accident if some evidence indicates that there was substantial wear and tear. Therefore, it is important that you prove theconnection between the auto accident and the damage you are claiming.Ordinarily, mechanics and collision repair personnel can help to provethe age of body damage or the cause of a mechanical failure. They can assist to convince the insurance company that the auto accident caused the damage you are claiming.

What about license and registration fees that I had to pay to drive the car?

In order to drive your vehicle, you had to pay a tag fee and registration fees. You are entitled to be reimbursed forthe prorated amount of these costs that are unused. The insurance company should also reimburse you for tag transfer fees and, in some cases, a prorated amount of sales tax on the actual cash value of the car at the time of the accident.

Rental Car Repair Questions

What if I need a rental car? Do I have to pay for it while my car is being repaired?

If you caused the accident, or if there is a dispute over who is to blame, then you must either pay for the rental car yourself or seek coverage under your own insurance policy if rental coverage is available. Many insurance contracts do not provide for rental coverage for their own customers, so you need to contact your insurance agent to determine what coverage exists. If the other driver is at fault, then we will demand that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident provide you with a rental car for the time needed to repair your vehicle. Sometimes, you must pay the rental car bill first, with reimbursement coming from the insurance company later.

What kind of rental car am I entitled to

The insurance company has to pay for the reasonably incurred rental cost of a substitute vehicle. Often, there are disputes as to what qualifies as a "substitute" vehicle. Essentially, it should be a vehicle of similar quality, within the confines of what is available for rent.

Should I purchase any extra insurance on the rental car provided to me?

Your own insurance policy should cover you while driving the rental car, but you should call your insurance agent to be sure that you are covered. The other driver's insurance company is not required to pay for additional insurance if you choose to purchase it from the car rental company.

Can I choose my own repair shop?

Yes. You always have the right to decide who will repair your vehicle, however the cost of the repair is not always determined by the estimate given by the repair facility of your choosing.

In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call Ardoin Law Firm P.C. now at (281) 922-7500, or (888) 522-1968 toll free or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM.The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.


The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use.

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