Your rights with regard to rental cars and repairs or total loss of your car after an auto accident

In the aftermath of an auto accident caused by someone else, understanding your rights regarding vehicle repairs, compensation, and associated expenses is crucial. Proffitt & Cox, LLP, a renowned personal injury law firm in Columbia, South Carolina, provides this essential guide to help you navigate your rights following such an incident.

One common question we encounter as personal injury attorneys at Proffitt & Cox, LLP is whether, after an accident, you should file a claim with your own insurance company or go through the other driver’s insurance company. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as the best course of action depends on several factors. Here, we delve into the pros and cons of both approaches to help you make an informed decision. We then discuss the different types of losses involved with damage to your vehicle and how you should be compensated for them.

Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company

If you have collision coverage, filing a claim with your own insurer is an option, regardless of who was at fault. This route can be faster and less stressful, as your insurer will take care of the repairs or pay the actual cash value (ACV) of your car if it’s totaled.

Your insurer will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, a process known as subrogation. This could also include your deductible, which would then be refunded to you.

However, you should be aware that choosing this path may result in higher premiums in the future, depending on your insurance company’s policies and whether you were at fault.

Filing a Claim with the Other Driver's Insurance Company

If the other driver was at fault and their insurer accepts liability, you could file a claim directly with their insurance company. This avoids the need to pay your deductible and generally won’t affect your insurance premiums.

The downside is that this process often takes longer, as the other driver’s insurance company will investigate the claim thoroughly before accepting liability. Also, disputes over fault can further delay the settlement process.

Vehicle Repair and Total Loss Compensation

Firstly, if your vehicle is damaged but repairable, you’re entitled to have those repairs paid for by the at-fault party’s insurance company. They should cover the costs to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.

If your vehicle is deemed a total loss (commonly referred to be as being “totalled”) you should receive compensation equivalent to your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) just before the accident. The ACV is typically calculated based on the make, model, age, mileage, and condition of your vehicle, along with the prices of similar vehicles in your local market.

Loss of Use, Rental Car, and Storage Expenses

While your car is being repaired or replaced, you might need alternative transportation. In such cases, you are entitled to “loss of use” damages or reimbursement for a rental car. The at-fault party’s insurer is typically responsible for these costs.

Furthermore, if your vehicle is towed and stored following the accident, the insurance company should cover reasonable towing and storage fees.If it will take a long time to get repairs made, you should contact the insurance company you are pursuing the claim through to see if they suggest moving vehicle to another location to minimize storage fees while awaiting repairs.

Diminution in Value

Even after quality repairs, a vehicle that has been involved in an accident may suffer a decrease in market value, known as “diminution in value.” After all your vehicle will now have a history of having been in an accident that will likely affect your resale or trade-in value in the future. You should claim this diminution in value from the at-fault party’s insurer.

Engaging a Personal Injury Attorney

At Proffitt & Cox, LLP, we’ve spent decades advocating for auto accident victims in Columbia, the Midlands, and throughout South Carolina. Our team can help you understand your rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. While our focus in on representing you for your personal injury claims and making sure that you are fairly compensated for your medical expense, lost wages, and pain and suffering, we are always available to our injury clients to discuss any issues that arise related to resolution of their property damage claim. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We’re here to help you get your life back together after an accident.

Find a South Carolina Auto Accident Attorney

If you suffered an injury from a serious auto accident, you may be facing significant medical bills. You may also be struggling to pay for your expenses because of an inability to work while you recover from your injuries. However, help is available to those who suffered injuries due to the negligence of others as well as for the families of fatal accident victims.

For years, our Columbia injury lawyers have worked on behalf of the people of South Carolina to gain them compensation for their motor vehicle accident injuries. We may be able to provide personal and effective legal support for you as well. Call the attorneys at Proffitt & Cox, LLP today at 803-834-7097 for a free consultation. You can also call the firm toll free at (877) 276-0533 or by filling out the contact form on our site.


Confidential Free Consultations; No Attorneys Fees Unless You Receive Compensation
We understand that when an injury occurs, people are concerned about medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for their pain and suffering and other damages. We can answer these questions, and more importantly, we can put our experience to work immediately toward helping victims of careless or wrongful conduct obtain prompt and appropriate compensation.

We offer free initial consultations for all injury cases. We handle injury cases on a contingency fee basis which means that our fees are a percentage of what we recover for you. You will not owe us any attorney’s fees in such cases unless we are successful in obtaining compensation on your behalf.

Our South Carolina accident attorneys have recovered over $30 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients. These claims involved automobile accidents, trucking accidents, harmful prescription drugs, medical malpractice, product liability, slip and fall accidents and class action cases. Review our representative cases to see some of our past successes and review our client testimonials to see what some of our clients have to say about us.

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