CAR DAMAGED IN AUTO ACCIDENT – NO INSURANCE OR LIABILITY ONLY
Our lawyers frequently get calls from people who have been in a car accident or car crash where they only have liability coverage on their automobile, i.e. they don’t have full collision coverage. Minnesota law requires that every vehicle be insured before it can legally be driven. However, that requirement only extends to liability insurance. You have to have insurance on your automobile to pay damages in case you crash into someone else’s car or property, or if you cause an auto accident and injure someone. But you are not required to have insurance to cover damage to your own car in a crash– that decision is up to you.
Most people decide whether to buy collision (damage from a crash) or comprehensive (damage for other reasons, e.g. flood or fire) insurance coverage for their automobile by comparing the value of their car or truck to the cost of the insurance. If your car is only worth $2,000, you may decide not to get full coverage because the insurance premium is too high compared to the value of the car. In that case, if you crash into a tree or otherwise damage your own car, you understand that if it’s your fault, you will have to pay for the damage to your own vehicle.
Unfortunately, we see many situations where our clients did not cause the car accident, but the other driver’s auto insurance refuses to pay to fix the damage to our client’s vehicle because the other driver won’t admit the accident was his fault or the insurance company won’t admit it was their driver’s fault. Then the question is asked: How do I get paid for the damage to my car when the car crash was the other driver’s fault?
The answer is that you first should help the other driver’s insurance company adjuster understand that the auto accident or crash was their driver’s fault. Provide them with the police report and photographs. You should also calmly explain to the adjuster how the accident happened. However, you should NOT give the adjuster a recorded statement, particularly if you may have been injured and there are going to be any questions about injuries. Because you are focused on your immediate problem – getting your car fixed – you are less likely to give full attention to questions about your injuries or even realize that you have been injured. If the conversation is recorded, it will be used against you later if your injuries turn out to be more serious than you expected and you try to make a claim. For more information, see How Do I Get Paid For The Damage To My Car.
If you can’t come to an agreement with the insurance adjuster about the damage to your car or truck, you can take your case to conciliation court. (The current limit for claims in conciliation court is $15,000, but the limits have risen many times over the years, so you should check conciliation court rules.) However, you need to be aware that you can only bring a car accident claim to court once. That means if you sue in conciliation court for damage to your vehicle, you may be forever giving up any future claim for injuries. Therefore, we strongly suggest you call us and speak with a lawyer about the crash if you are having difficulty settling your claim for car damage.
We are Minnesota attorneys, and our personal injury lawyers have over 25 years’ experience handling hundreds of car accident injury cases. We will provide you with a free initial consultation, and we always only charge a percentage of the compensation you receive from your case. We provide big firm experience and small firm attention. You can meet a MN car accident lawyer at our offices in Minneapolis, Edina, Woodbury, and St. Louis Park. We also meet people at their homes in many surrounding cities including Chaska, Chanhassen, Lakeville, Burnsville, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Center, St. Paul, Roseville, Forest Lake, and cities throughout Minnesota such as Albert Lea MN. You can contact us by calling or emailing from the web site contact information.