A motor vehicle accident can be an stressful experience for a number of reasons. You may find yourself seriously injured, without a vehicle, and sitting under a pile of medical bills. On top of all of that, you may find yourself under pressure to figure out what to do with the badly damaged or undrivable vehicle that was involved in the accident.
If you purchased collision coverage for your vehicle then you always have the option of paying your deductible and allowing your insurer to handle any pressing property damage issues.
If you decide to not utilize this coverage or did not purchase collision coverage for your vehicle, you are at the mercy of the at-fault driver's insurance company, which then needs to do a series of tasks that may take a week or more to complete. To give you an example of how long this could take, consider the following:
The other insurer needs to decide if they are going to accept responsibility for the accident. In order to gather enough information to make a decision, the insurer may need to:
Speak with and take a statement from their insured driver about the facts of the accident.
Take your statement on the facts of the accident. This may need to be coordinated through your attorney’s office.
Wait for a police report.
Investigate possible coverage issues with their insured driver.
The other insurer needs to investigate the value of your damage claim, by hiring experts, getting estimates, and performing comparisons to other vehicles.
If any issue arise with any of the above, there will almost certainly be a significant delay to your claim. This delay, which could be unavoidable even with representation, isn’t just stressful. It’s also very expensive.
Let’s say that your undrivable damaged vehicle was towed to the Minneapolis Impound Lot. The at-fault driver’s insurance is in the process of investigating the accident. Before the sun goes down on the day of the accident, you will need to pay over $150.00 on a vehicle that you may not even be able to drive any longer. Here are the numbers,
Standard Tow Charge: $138.00
Storage: $18.00 per day
Heavy-duty Tow: $175.00
Notification Letter: $6.00
Just to get your vehicle out of the lot, you will need to pay any/all of those charges to the tow lot, and it gets more expensive to do so with each passing day. If the vehicle is not drivable and you want to recover it, then you will be responsible for the charges from towing it to where you want it to go. The tow lot may also auction or destroy your vehicle if it’s left in the lot for too long.
At this point, it is vital that you make a decision on what you want to do. The at-fault insurer may be weeks or more away from making a decision whether or not they can pay for the damage to the vehicle and the associated tow and storage charges. The fees are piling up.
If you don’t have collision insurance coverage on your damaged vehicle or you don’t want to pay the deductible, you have only two choices. You can wait for the other insurer to make a decision (which may not be favorable to you), or you can pay for the charges yourself and limit your exposure to future fees or the destruction or sale of the vehicle.
If you pay the fees yourself, the other insurer may reimburse you for the money spent if they accept responsibility for the accident at a later date.
If you find yourself in need of assistance or advice after your accident, please call the office of Aaron Ferguson Law at 651-493-0426 for a free consultation.