What Damages Can I Recover in a Car Wreck?

Even a “minor” fender bender can result in expensive car repairs.

St. Louis fender bender

When you are in a car accident, there are times when you are injured and you have property damage; in other cases your car may be “injured,” but you are not. Something as minor as a fender bender can cost a whole lot of money in repairs. Since Missouri is an at-fault state, to determine who is responsible for paying for your property damage, you must first determine who is “at fault.” Once a motorist is found liable, you might have the following questions.

What damages can I recover?

For property damage, you can generally recover the difference between what your car was worth before the accident versus what it is worth afterward. This means you are often entitled either to have your repair costs covered or in cases where your car is considered a “total loss,” you may be able to recover the market value of your car. The fair market value is generally determined using the Kelley Blue Book.

Who gets to choose whether a car is a total loss or if it can be repaired?

The insurance carrier who is responsible for the cost of repairing the car will generally determine whether they want to pay for the cost of repairs or if they want to total the car. The determination is typically that if the repairs cost more than 75% of the value of the car according to its Blue Book value, the insurance company will consider it a total loss and pay that market value.

Should I get an estimate?

Although it is common for the insurance carriers dealing with the claim to get estimates for the car, you are entitled to get your own estimates if you disagree with their figures. If the adjuster who is handling your car underestimates how much the repairs cost, then the mechanic doing the work will have to contact the insurance carrier to work out the additional cost or determine what repairs might have been overlooked.

Can the repairs be made with aftermarket parts?

The insurance company is usually allowed to use aftermarket parts as long as they are of the same quality as the original manufacturer parts.

Can I get a rental car if my car is inoperable?

If your vehicle is either a total loss or will be in the repair shop a while, you might be wondering if you can get a rental car and have the insurance company pay for it. Either the insurance company can make rental car arrangements for you, or you can rent a car of your own accord. Either way, the insurance company is usually responsible for providing you with transportation.

When dealing with an auto accident in Missouri, property damage can add up and cost you a whole lot. Even if you weren’t injured in an accident, you are still entitled to recover for the cost of repairs on your car. To ensure that you get all that you are entitled to, it is best to have an experienced car accident attorney review your case. You can be sure, the insurance company with have attorneys working in their behalf. It is therefore always best to have someone in your corner to help protect your right to compensation.

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Updated: November 22, 2018