How does Missouri law protect you when your car gets damaged in an accident? Find out from our St. Louis personal injury lawyers.
You’re hit in a car accident. How does recovering money for the physical damage to your car work in Missouri?
Learn the basics below:
- What are You Generally Entitled to Recover?
If your car is damaged in a wreck and repairable, you are entitled to have repairs performed on your vehicle. Remember, however, that an insurance company is only required to provide repairs in an amount up to the property damage coverage limits of its insured.
If your car is repaired and loses value because of those repairs you may also be entitled to recover damages for the diminished value of your vehicle. After all, when you decide to sell the vehicle a purchaser is likely to know that it has been involved in a wreck. If the buyer has the option of buying two identical cars for the same money – one that has been in a prior wreck and one that hasn’t – which one do you think they will choose to purchase?
What Do Insurance Companies Do to Minimize Your Car’s Value?
In many cases, the insurance company gives you a fair valuation for your car (if it is being totaled), or fair compensation for the cost of the repairs. But as you know, they don’t always aim for fairness. They aim to make more money and claims adjusters are sometimes compensated based on how little they give you – the innocent victim.
They might try to use cheaper, “after-market,” parts. They could try to minimize, or entirely eliminate, their driver’s fault by getting you to make statements that hurt your claim.
You have to watch out and protect yourself during the process.
- Can You Get a Rental Car at the Insurance Company’s Cost?
You can – but don’t see this as your opportunity to rent the most expensive vehicle. Insurance companies are only required to cover the cost of a “reasonable replacement.” Also, whether your car is repairable or totaled will dictate how long they are obligated to provide you a rental vehicle.
- Do I Need to Get Repair or Replacement Estimates?
No, you don’t. The insurance adjuster should give you an estimate, while you get to choose the shop that does the repairs. If the adjuster made any mistakes in their estimate, the repair shop should work those out with them.
- When Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?
Sometimes, car accidents are quite straightforward. In other cases, they’re anything but.
If you’re ever uncertain about the integrity of the process or how the insurance company’s acting, reach out. If the insurance company wants you to give a recorded statement, strongly consider a personal injury lawyer.
They offer free consultations, so you can learn if you’re getting a fair shake without taking on any risk.