If you were in a car accident that was not your fault, you should not have to pay your deductible before having your vehicle repaired. However, if you file a claim before determining who caused the crash, you may have to pay your deductible. It is important to wait until fault is determined to make sure the responsible party pays the deductible in a car accident.
How Long Does It Take to Determine Fault in a Car Accident?
How long it takes to determine who was at fault for your car accident depends on the circumstances of your crash and if you or anyone else suffered injuries. Your auto insurer and the other driver’s insurance company will conduct investigations into the accident to determine fault. These insurers will likely ask you questions about the accident and request a police report about the crash.
The issue of fault is critical to an auto insurer’s investigation because Tennessee is a fault-based state when it comes to car accidents. This means that the at-fault party is responsible for financial losses and other compensatory damages resulting from a crash.
In your case, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should pay for your damages. If you paid your deductible and had your car repaired before understanding who was at fault, your insurer may go after the at-fault driver’s insurance company to reimburse you for your deductible and car repair costs.
Do I Have to Pay a Deductible If the At-Fault Driver Did Not Have Insurance?
You will probably have to pay a deductible if you use Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to take care of your damages. This coverage protects you if the other driver did not have insurance or had policy limits too low to cover your damages.
UM/UIM are optional policies that state law requires insurance companies to offer. However, vehicle owners can reject these policies in writing.
Recovering compensation under these policies means you will have to file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company. With either coverage, your insurer might require you to pay your deductible before issuing a settlement check.
What If I Suffered Injuries in the Car Accident?
Bodily injuries—and death—add complexities to auto accidents. Depending on the severity of your injuries and if there are disputes over fault, you may want to speak to a car accident lawyer about recovering compensation for your injuries.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we help injury accident victims pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our firm handles all aspects of insurance claims, including negotiating fair settlements with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on our clients’ behalf.
How Can I Talk to a Lawyer About My Case?
If you have questions about paying a deductible after an accident, or if you suffered injuries in an accident and want to file a claim, call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, now at 865-546-1111. You can schedule a free case evaluation with one of our car accident lawyers.