Yes, you have to pay your deductible, even if you were not at fault for a car accident. You must pay your deductible every time you seek compensation from your car insurance company, regardless of how the accident happened.
However, if you decide to sue the liable party for damages, your car accident lawyer could include the deductible as part of the settlement you seek from their insurance company. The liable party would then have to repay you for your deductible payment.
What Is My Deductible?
A deductible is the amount you must pay in accident-related bills before your car insurance policy will “kick in” and start covering your expenses. For instance:
- You get into a car accident that costs you $5,000.
- Your collision deductible is $500.
- You would have to pay the first $500 for your repair bills out of pocket. After that, your insurance policy would cover the remaining $4,500, assuming the insurer accepts your claim.
- If the insurance company denies your claim, it would expect you to pay the entire $5,000 out of pocket. However, you could protest its decision. A lawyer could collect evidence showing that your claim is valid.
The exact amount you must pay before receiving coverage could be several hundred dollars or more, depending on what you selected when purchasing your policy. You can review your insurance policy or contact your insurance company to determine the deductibles you set on your policy.
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Getting Reimbursement for Your Deductible
It might seem unfair that you have to pay your deductible if someone else’s negligence caused your accident. Fortunately, you have the right to sue a negligent party for damages. One of the damages you can include in your compensation demand is reimbursement of your car insurance deductible.
Other available damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Car repair bills
- Past and future loss of income
- Loss of job opportunities
- Pain and suffering (including emotional trauma)
- Reduced quality of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
Seeking reimbursement will be as straightforward or as tricky as the liable party’s insurance company wants to make it. You can get a settlement fairly quickly if the insurer does not contest your lawsuit. However, if it denies that its client was at fault, it could take much longer for you to get the money you deserve.
Suing the At-Fault Driver With Legal Help
Hiring a car accident lawyer can make it much easier for you to sue the at-fault driver and ensure that you seek an appropriate amount of compensation that includes the amount of your deductible.
An attorney could fight for compensation by:
- Creating a list of every loss and injury you sustained because of the accident
- Gathering evidence from various sources to prove you didn’t cause the accident
- Going to the insurance companies with this evidence
- Negotiating with the liable party’s insurer for a fair settlement
- Reviewing the settlement agreement with you before you sign it
You will not get a second chance at suing the at-fault driver over this accident, so it is essential that you include every loss (including your deductible) in your initial demand.
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What if the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured?
Although buying car insurance is a legal responsibility in Georgia, not every driver adheres to it. So, if a driver with no insurance hits you, you still have options for recovering compensation.
You have the right to sue anyone who harms you through their negligence, even if that person does not carry adequate (or any) insurance. In such cases, the liable party would pay whatever compensation you win out of their pocket. Unfortunately, this fact could complicate your case because:
- Individuals generally do not have access to the same resources that insurance companies do
- The individual may not be able to afford the compensation you need
- The individual may take legal action, such as declaring bankruptcy, to avoid paying you
With that said, a car accident lawyer from our firm could:
- Meet and negotiate with the liable party (or their lawyer) to secure as much compensation as the at-fault party can afford
- See if there are any other liable parties (e.g., a negligent car part manufacturer) that you can sue for additional compensation
- Take the liable party to court if that is the best course of action
- Inform you of any other options for recovering compensation
Learn More About Deductibles From Bader Scott Injury Lawyers
While you have to pay your deductible even if you were not at fault, you can ask the liable party’s insurance company to reimburse you for this expense. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers wants to help you pursue fair compensation for your injuries due to another person’s negligence. So, contact our office today to schedule a free case review.