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My Vehicle is Damaged but It Can Be Repaired, What are My Options?

You were involved in an accident in Jacksonville and adding to your injuries is the fact your vehicle is damaged and you need to get it repaired.  It is important to speak with a Jacksonville Property Damage Attorney about your options in order to maximize your compensation while minimizing the hassle.

Do I Get the Repairs Done Through My Collision Insurance or the At-Fault Driver’s Property Damage Insurance?

If you selected Collision Coverage on your policy, you have options regarding how to get your repairs handled. The choice depends on a number of factors that an attorney at Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A. can go over with you to determine what works best for your situation.

Reasons to Have Your Vehicle Repaired Under Your Collision Coverage Even Though the Other Driver Was Found At-Fault


It takes time for the other driver’s insurance company to “investigate” the claim.  The first thing they do is determine if they can avoid the claim.  They look to see if the policy was in effect at the time of the crash.  If someone other than the owner was driving the car, the insurance company needs to interview the owner to be sure the driver had the owner’s permission to drive the car.  If the person driving the car was living with the owner, the insurance company will look to see if the owner properly disclosed on their insurance application that the other driver lived in the household.  If there are other vehicles involved, the at-fault insurance company will need to speak with all the parties to assess its total exposure before dealing with just one claim.

You Have an Alternative Vehicle:

Unless you purchased optional rental car coverage, you will be without a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.  This is not an issue if you have another vehicle you can use.

There is a Question of Who is At Fault:

If there is any reason for the other insurance to dispute liability, they are likely to reduce their responsibility for your vehicle damage by the percentage of fault they assign to you.  If you do not have collision coverage, this is your only option.  However, if you have collision coverage, you will be paid 100% of your damages regardless of whether you were partially at fault for causing the collision.

Reasons to Have Your Vehicle Repaired Through the Other Driver’s Property Damage Coverage

Your Car is Still Able to be Driven:

If you have time to wait and allow the other insurance company to do their “investigation” into the claim, it may be worth it to wait.  As long as you can safely operate your vehicle and continuing to drive does not further damage the vehicle, you may want to wait.

To Avoid Paying Your Collision Deductible:

If you elected to have the optional collision coverage on your policy, you probably have a deductible.  If you go through your own insurance to get your vehicle repaired, you may be reimbursed for your deductible when your insurance company asks the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay them back.  However, you have to come up with the deductible and the reimbursement process may take months.

You Need a Rental Car:

If you did not select the optional rental car coverage on your insurance policy and you do not have an alternate vehicle to use, you may want to go through the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. 

You are entitled to Loss of Use damages, which requires the insurance company to place you in a comparable vehicle for the length of time needed for your repairs to be completed.  However, you do not have to actually rent a vehicle to be entitled to Loss of Use Damages. Badillo v. Hill, 570 So.2d 1067 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990); Meakin v. Dreier, 209 So.2d 252 (Fla.2d DCA 1968); Maserati Auto, Inc. v. Caplan, 522 So.2d 993 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988).  These cases and cited law stand for the proposition a person deprived of his property is entitled to the rental value of that property even though the person suffered no harm due to the deprivation or had a substitute vehicle they used without additional expense.

Diminished Value Claim

Diminished value damages represent the loss in value due to the fact the vehicle was involved in a wreck.  If you place two vehicles side by side and one of the vehicles had $5,000 worth of damage, even assuming the repair work was done correctly, the vehicle with prior damage would not command the same price as the undamaged vehicle.  This damage is sometimes referred to as stigma damage because there is a negative connotation assigned to a vehicle that has been in a wreck. 

Diminished value claims are only available against the at-fault insurance company and they are paid out of the same property damage coverage available to repair your vehicle.  If your repairs are equal to or greater than the amount of property damage coverage, there will be no coverage available for your diminished value claim.  It is important to speak with a Diminished Value Attorney in Jacksonville to explain your options. 

If you have been involved in an accident in Jacksonville and your vehicle needs repairs, we suggest contacting a Property Damage Attorney at Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., to understand your options and receive the compensation you deserve.

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