Who Pays for Car Damage?

Who Pays for the Damage to My Car?


Often, the clients of Howell & Thornhill, P.A., have questions about the damage to their
vehicles in motor vehicle crashes in Florida. Below are some of the questions we have
heard from our clients in the past. For a complete explanation of your rights, please
consult a lawyer with Howell & Thornhill, P.A., as each situation is different.


Does the person at fault have insurance
coverage for my vehicle?


When the other driver causes the crash, the other driver’s insurance is responsible for the
damage to your vehicle. In Florida, every insured driver is required to carry, at the
minimum, $10,000.00 property damage insurance.

The requirement to carry a minimum of $10,000.00 of property damage coverage is
outlined in Florida Statute Section 324.022 which states “every owner or operator of a
motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall establish and maintain the
ability to respond in damages for liability on account of accident arising out of the use of
the motor vehicle in the amount of $10,000.00 because of damage to, or destruction of,
property of others in any one crash. “


Why does the insurance company refuse to talk
to me about my car until they talk to their driver?


Insurance companies often stall until they have a complete copy of the crash report or
until they talk to their owner and or driver who they have insured to verify how the crash
happened. They may often refuse to deal with the damage to your motor vehicle because
they question whether the driver who they insure caused the crash or they merely want
to sit on their money to make interest.

In either event, our firm, Howell & Thornhill, can order a copy of the crash report to speed
up the process.


Sometimes, it is better if you try to go through your own insurance company to get your
car fixed or totaled.


This is a difficult choice to make because the crash was not your
fault, but it might be the best solution to get your vehicle fixed or totaled faster.

Your insurance company, without legally raising your rates, can pay for the damage to
your vehicle if you purchased collision insurance. You can check your insurance policy to
see if you have purchased collision insurance.

The drawback to using your collision insurance is you may have a deductible. This
deductible can be reimbursed to you by your insurance company after the insurance
company for the at-fault driver accepts liability for causing damage to your vehicle.


Do I have to give a statement to the other
driver’s insurance company on how the crash
happened to have them deal with me on the
damage to my vehicle?


Often, insurance companies try to force you into a statement about how the crash
happened by stating they will not talk to you about fixing or totaling out the vehicle until
they have a statement. Howell & Thornhill, P.A., believes that this is a trick to have you give
a statement without knowing your rights that they will later use to justify paying little or
nothing for the damage to your vehicle. Our firm suggests you consult a lawyer before
giving any statements to determine whether they are actually necessary and helpful.


Does the other driver’s insurance have a duty to
pay anything other than the damage to my car?


Insist that the other driver’s insurance pay for towing and storage of your vehicle. Also,
they have a duty to pay for rental vehicle while the vehicle is being repaired. If you do not
rent a vehicle, insist on loss of use of $20.00 a day while your vehicle is being repaired.