Unless you received bodily injuries, it is not likely to be cost efficient to hire an attorney here. Fortunately, the small claims courts cater to plaintiffs in these situations. That is probably your best bet, if no injuries.
The insurance company generally must make a liability determination within 30 days. You will not be able to hire a lawyer for this matter economically speaking. You can file a complaint with the Department of Insurance and/or sue the other driver in small claims court. You are also entitled to the loss of use of vehicle (which is the equivalent of the rental rate) during the time your vehicle is undriveable.
You should file a lawsuit against the liable driver and owner of the other vehicle. You would be entitled to the reasonable cost to repair your vehicle and rental coverage or loss of use during the period of repair. Once you file and serve the lawsuit, it is likely that the other driver will contact the his insurance company to resolve the claim.
You would probably pay more for a lawyer than the amount in damages you stand to recover. Much better to simply file a lawsuit yourself in small claims court. If you win and he doesn't pay, you can report him to the DMV and get his license suspended.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
I agree with most - however, if the car is customized or fairly new -
Don't just sue for repairs, include the diminution in value. Which is the losses you have if the repairs are reported to an agency like Car Fax, or others showing it was in a prior accident. That could be worth another $700 to $1000 -
Do not accept this as an atty-clients relationship, consult with an atty in your area.
I agree with most. However, still won't be a bad idea to consult with an attorney. You can give him all the facts and he may value the case differently and find it a case worth working for. You won't have anything to lose as most will not charge you for an initial consultation.
If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, then your insurance company can repair your car and then collect it from the opposing insurance company. So long as the accident is not your fault, your insurance premium will not be affected. If on the other hand you only have liability insurance, then file a Complaint in the small claims court and in addition to serving the party, serve a courtesy copy to the insurance company.They will then be quick to respond. I agree with everyone in that you don't need to hire an attorney. Good luck.
Is there a police report that determined fault on the other driver? If not, then I would start with filing a police report to document that a motor-vehicle accident has occurred and to have something in writing. The police officer might be able to obtain a statement from the defendant driver, and you would have something to use against the defendant.
The other thing to consider is to file a DMV report of a motor-vehicle collision (Form SR-1).
Were photographs taken of the property damage to both vehicles? And, the scene of the collision prior to moving both vehicles? Or, did you have a dashboard camera in your car that recorded the incident?
The reason I ask is because defendant driver may deny liability and claim that you caused the accident. So, make sure you are prepared if you decide to file in small claims court. You will be required to prove that defendant was liable for this car accident using your evidence (testimony, documents, photographs, videos, etc.).
Best of luck to you!
This information is not legal advice, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is intended for general informational purposes only. Said information is given in the context of California law.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.