If you have collision coverage, you may contact your insurance company and open a collision claim. Your insurance company may cancel you or raise your rates because you were at fault for the accident. You may also have to pay your deductible. This may be $250, $500, $1,000; depending on your coverage.
If you do not have collision coverage you must pay for your vehicle to be repaired or for a new vehicle if it is totaled. If you have liability coverage, your insurance will defend and indemnify you up to the limits of the insurance coverage.
Car accident was not your fault - Option 1
I recommend that you turn the claim into your own insurance as a collision claim. Your insurance will then subrogate (try to get the other insurance or party to pay) for what they pay. If you have rental coverage you can get into a rental. If you do not have rental coverage you may rent a vehicle and pay out of pocket and get reimbursed by the other party's insurance. If the other insurance has accepted liability, you may have the other insurance set it up as a direct bill and the will pay directly. DO NOT get the optional damage coverage because the other insurance is not responsible. Your collision coverage will pay for this. DO NOT incur over $25 per day for rental or you may have problems getting it paid. DO NOT stay in rental longer than three weeks or you may have problems getting paid. You will get your towing bill, storage, and other charges paid by the other driver's insurance when they accept liability.
Car accident was not your fault - Option 2
You may also make a claim for property damage, loss of use (and/or rental), towing, storage, and other charges to the other party's insurance. I do not recommend this if you have collision coverage, only if you do not. You should send a letter in writing requesting payment for repairs or total loss. This is usually done on direct payment to the body shop or lender if your car is totaled.
If you do this be careful not to give any facts of the accident or your injuries or lack thereof because these will be recorded and used against you.
Maximizing your recovery
Remember all options on the car, window tint, roof rack, rims, upgraded stereo, upgraded options package (EX, SX, SE, GLS, etc.), extended warranty (you may also cash this out), PDL, PW, Power Seats, excellent condition of vehicle, other aftermarket options like remote start, ipod adapter, etc.
Remember to get loss of use compensation for each day that you are without the vehicle and all other claims like towing, storage, cab fare to a rental office, etc.
Do not stay in the rental longer than three weeks. Do not get the optional rental coverage.
Call Attorney Robert E. Barry if you have any questions at all. (480) 491-7665.