Motor Vehicle Damage FAQ

Proudly Serving Clients in Seattle, Tacoma & nearby areas of Washington

Getting your vehicle repaired after an auto accident is a top priority in getting back to your regular routine. At Buckley & Associates in Seattle, we get many questions from our clients about vehicle repair. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Who decides where my vehicle is repaired?

You decide where your vehicle is repaired. The insurance company decides how much will be paid for the repairs, and it may not be the same amount as the repair shop estimate.

Will the repair shop charge me for storage?

The insurance company of the person who caused the accident will pay towing and storage costs, according to what is reasonable in your area. If the vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company will pay to have it moved to a salvage or wrecking yard. If you do not allow the company to move your vehicle, you will be liable for any storage or towing fees.

Who decides if my vehicle is repairable or totaled?

The insurance company who is liable for payment can decide that your vehicle is not worth repairing. If the cost of the labor and parts exceeds the market value of your vehicle, the company can declare it a "total loss" and pay you the market value.

Market value is determined by the fair market value of similar vehicles in your area, or from an independent source such as the Kelley Blue Book. If you want to keep the vehicle after it has been declared a total loss, you will have to pay the salvage value to the insurance company.

Who pays the bank loan if my vehicle is financed?

You are still liable for any loans on the vehicle. If the fair market value of your vehicle is less than the outstanding loan, you are still required to pay the entire amount of the loan.

Do I get a rental vehicle while my vehicle is being repaired?

If you are willing to pay for it,you can always get a rentalvehicle. If you want the insurance company to pay for it, while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced, then payment depends on several factors.

  • If you caused the accident, check to see if your own insurance coverage includes rental vehicles. Many policies do not include rental vehicles unless it is specifically stated.
  • If the other driver caused the accident, then you can expect the liable person's insurance company to pay the costs of providing you with a rental vehicle. The vehicle will be a substitute for your own vehicle, that is, a vehicle of similar quality.

Be sure to check with your own insurance company about insurance coverage on the rental vehicle.

I just paid for my license plates. Do I have to pay for new ones?

The insurance company should pay the prorated amount of any registration fees that are unused, as well as transfer fees for the new registration.

If you were recently injured in a car accident, please call (206) 622-1100 today to contact Buckley & Associates for your free consultation with one of our experienced accident attorneys. We welcome clients throughout the Seattle  and Tacoma areas of Washington.