After a car accident, there are many expenses a victim will need to account for. Medical bills, vehicle repairs, transportation costs, loss of income, the list can feel endless. One bill that may not come to mind immediately but which will come up in the insurance claims process is the deductible payment for a claim.
The answer to who pays the deductible for a car accident claim can be different depending on each case. After an accident, there are different paths and ways to seek compensation to recover some or all of your losses. Which path you decide is your best option can influence who will pay for the deductible in a claim and whether you may be able to recover that expense later on in your case.
It Depends Who Is at Fault for the Accident
Typically, if a driver is at fault for an accident, they will pay for their deductible to initiate a claim to cover any losses that are available under their own auto insurance coverage such as for medical expenses or damages to their vehicle. If you are not at fault for an accident, however, you will normally not pay for a deductible as you will be able to, in most cases, file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. There are some unique situations in which a party that is not at fault may need to pay a deductible upfront to initiate an insurance claim.
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When Might You Need to Pay a Deductible When You are Not at Fault?
Unfortunately, there are many times when an insurance claims process is anything but smooth and a party that is not to blame for an accident will have to pay the deductible to their own insurance company in the following scenarios.
Fault Determinations Can Take Time
A determination of fault is not instantaneous. If there is no clear indication of fault from the onset of the claims process, you may not be sure yet of who you are able to file a claim with. In these circumstances, a party will usually pay the deductible with their own insurance company.
Your own insurer will then begin a claim to begin the process and you will await a determination of fault from the insurance companies. If it is revealed you are not the party at fault, your own insurer may then attempt to recoup the costs from the at-fault driver’s insurance company through subrogation.
It is always best that you contact a car accident attorney before paying any deductibles or initiating a claim. An attorney may be able to assist you and ensure you do not have to pay any deductible unless it is absolutely necessary.
The Other Insurer Is Dragging Their Feet
Beyond situations in which the fault is not yet clear, another common scenario in which a party will choose to pay their deductible is when they want to move their claim quickly. Paying your deductible can move things along quicker but it can also have a negative effect on your future premiums, even when you are not the party at fault. It may not be your best or only option to pay your deductible, always consult with your lawyer to discuss what options you may have following a car accident that is not your fault.
If you want your case to move along more quickly and get the process going as soon as possible, your best bet is to contact a car accident lawyer to represent you in the insurance claims process. Whether you are filing a claim with an at-fault party’s insurance or your own insurer, there is a significant advantage to hiring an attorney that can fight for the maximum compensation available in your case.
Do You Need to Pay for a Deductible if a Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
If you are in an accident with a motorist that does not have liability vehicle insurance and you must go through your own insurance company for uninsured motorist coverage the payment of a deductible, can depend on your policy. Some underinsured or uninsured motorist policies do not require a victim to pay a deductible for a claim to begin. However, some policies may require a deductible payment.
Depending on your insurance company, if a deductible is required, it is possible that you can request to subtract the deductible amount from any payout for damages in your case. It is not always possible for a car accident victim to pay a deductible upfront if their finances are tight. Depending on your situation, there may be a way to continue your claim without payment at the outset of the claim.
Should You Hire a Lawyer to Deal with Insurance Matters After a Car Accident?
There is a common misconception amongst many car accident victims that if they do not intend to file a lawsuit there is no need for a lawyer. First off, there is no way to know at the outset of an insurance claim if a lawsuit may become necessary. Secondly, a car accident lawyer is an invaluable resource that you should obtain regardless of what you believe will be the resolution in your case.
A car accident lawyer can increase the possibility that you will reach a resolution of your case in the negotiations of your insurance claim. An attorney will fight for each loss you sustain and gather the evidence to support your losses and claim of injuries. If your case must go to court, your attorney will fight for you every step of the way.
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If you are a victim of a motor vehicle accident, call an automobile accident attorney to discuss your insurance claim and the case against the parties responsible.
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