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Questions from the Average Joe: Auto Accidents

April 9, 2020

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We are asked many questions about being involved in an auto accident. Zachary Belcher is our Intake attorney at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and he is here to answer those questions.

Q: The insurance company wants to total my car, but I think it’s still drivable with just a few repairs. What should I do?

Image of car accident

A: Under virtually all auto insurance policies, an insurance company is only responsible to pay up to the fair market value for a vehicle. If, in their estimation, it would cost more to repair it than to buy it for the fair market price, they are only legally bound to pay up to the fair market price. When they do this though, they take ownership of your vehicle.

If, however, you want to keep your vehicle, you may have options. Depending on your situation, there may be ways to take less money and retain your vehicle. This may be the option for you – but it is always best to discuss your options with an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident attorney to ensure that you’re making the best decision for your specific situation.

Q: What do I do if the person who hit me did not have car insurance?

A: An accident is stressful enough even when both parties have insurance. If the at-fault driver was also uninsured, a hard situation can become exponentially more complicated. That said, the fact that the other driver did not have insurance does not always mean you can’t get your bills paid or your car fixed. If you opted for uninsured motorist and collision coverage when you bought your own insurance, you may be able to have your expenses covered by your own insurance carrier. Even if you did not, there may be other options to pursue. A qualified auto accident attorney can walk you through the specifics of your situation and help you determine what the best option is, even if the at-fault driver didn’t have car insurance.

Q: Do I need to report my accident to the police?

A: You might think a small accident is “no big deal.” The other driver might even give you his number and say he’ll pay for everything if you don’t involve the police. But what if the number he gave you doesn’t work? What if his insurance company doesn’t believe your side of the story? Without an official record of what happened, you may be left paying for damage from an accident that you didn’t cause.

Even if the other driver seems nice and admits fault, disputes may still come up. Calling the police to the scene of the accident is always the best first step. If you were already involved in an accident and didn’t call the police, you can still file your report in person at the police department. By creating an official record of what happened, you’re much more likely to reach a favorable resolution for your claim.

Get to Know Your Attorney

Headshot of Zachary Belcher, Intake Attorney at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy

Zachary Belcher joined Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and ensures that every individual who contacts the firm receives outstanding service and support throughout the intake process.

Zack graduated from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2015 and has handled more than 500 injury cases for clients injured in automobile accidents.  He understands the stressful and life-altering situations clients face before seeking a personal injury attorney. 

Contact Our Cleveland Auto Accident Attorneys

Don’t let an auto accident consume your life. Let our Cleveland auto accident attorneys do the heavy lifting and pursue the compensation you are owed for your injuries. Call us today at (216) 230-6352 or complete a free initial consultation form online.

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