This is part 2, out of 7, of our blog series about frequently asked questions for car accidents in North Dakota.
Who will pay to get my car fixed after an accident?
The person who caused the accident is responsible for the cost of repairing your vehicle. If the at-fault person’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident, this can be a relatively quick process. However, if the at-fault party’s insurance company denies liability for the accident, or there are delays in determining who was at-fault for the accident, it can be a different story. You or your insurance company may need to pay for your repairs and seek reimbursement from the at-fault party’s insurance. If you encounter problems with the property damage portion of your case, do not hesitate to call. Reichert Law Office will try to assist you.
If liability for an accident is accepted, the at-fault party’s insurance company is required by law to pay for the damage to your car. They also need to provide a reasonable replacement vehicle (rental) while your car is being repaired. You should request and get pre-approval from the insurance company for a rental that accommodates your needs. In any event, the insurance company only has to provide a rental until the repairs are complete or they offer you the fair market value of your vehicle if it is a total loss.
If your car is “totaled” (meaning it would cost more to fix it than it is worth) then the insurance company is required to pay you the “fair market value” of your vehicle. Make no mistake about it, there is nothing fair about fair market value, but it’s the law. Many clients find that the fair market value is not enough for them to go out and buy the same car. Or even worse, they owe more to the bank than the car is worth, leaving a balance after your car is totaled. There is a type of insurance coverage that pays this difference called “gap insurance.” Check your paperwork and report the loss to the insurance company immediately if you have gap insurance coverage. Many used car dealers that finance the sale of their cars require gap coverage, so check the paperwork you received with your car!