You are in a car accident in New Jersey, and you’re not at fault. Even worse, your car is damaged. What do you do?

Well, you first should look at your auto insurance policy to determine whether your policy includes collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle as the result of a collision with another car or other object. Collision coverage also pays you for damage that you cause to your automobile. You can also make a claim under your own collision coverage for damage to your car from an auto accident you did not cause. This may take less time than making a property damage liability claim against the driver who caused the auto accident. Your insurer then may seek reimbursement (subrogation) from the insurer of the driver who caused the auto accident.

So, if you’re in a car accident, and you have collision coverage on your vehicle, you can make a claim through your insurance company for the damage that was sustained in the car accident. Your car insurance company will assign an adjuster who will assess the damage and will handle the claim for you. You will be responsible for paying up to the full amount of your collision coverage deductible. If the other driver is at fault for the accident, you can ask your insurance company to try to recoup your deductible from the responsible driver’s auto insurance company. If your insurance company recoups your deductible, it should forward it to you.  

If you do not have collision coverage on your vehicle, you can make a claim through the responsible driver’s insurance company in order to get your car fixed. Be forewarned, though, that you should carefully read anything that the insurance company send you before you decide whether to sign it. The other driver’s insurance company is not on your side, and their responsibility is to their insured, not you. Therefore, if you can afford it, you should always try to purchase collision coverage for your vehicle so that you will be able to make a claim through your own insurance if your car is damage in a collision with another car or object.

Additionally, if you are in a car accident, you should take photographs of your car and any other cars involved in the accident. If the other driver is responsible for the accident and his insurance company handles your car damage claim, you might not be able to get that company’s photos of your car damage unless you file a lawsuit. If you take your own photos, you at least will have evidence of what type of damage the car sustained in the crash.  

If you have specific questions about this topic or anything else on your auto insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to call one of Stark & Stark’s many experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. Our attorneys frequently give free seminars for the public on auto insurance topics at libraries and meeting spaces throughout the state.  We are a free resource to help you make an informed decision on your auto insurance coverage. We’re here for you, so contact us if you have questions about auto insurance or any other personal injury issue.