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Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis
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Car Accident – Replacing your Vehicle

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Here is a recent question posted on AVVO:

Who can I get to pay for the replacement of my vehicle?

I was involved in an accident that was caused by an uninsured motorist. My vehicle only had liability on it. My insurance company told me that my uninsured motorist coverage only covers medical issues not the vehicle itself. So now what do I do in order to be able to get a car. I am not rich and don’t have the money to replace my vehicle. Its already cost me 225 dollars to have my vehicle towed home and the road side assistance I have only refunds me 75 of that. Another issue with the accident was the driver had no license, we aren’t even sure if he was a legal citizen. Thanks for any help you can give us.

My Answer:

You have another issue to consider: what was the damage to your car? If it was towed, I presume there was significant damage. If it was an older model, it sounds like the damages could exceed 75% of the value of the vehicle. If so, the car is considered totaled under Alabama law (Section 32-8-87 of the Code of Alabama), and in that case, you have to get a salvage title in order to have it repaired.

(d) For the purposes of this section, a total loss shall occur when an insurance company or any other person pays or makes other monetary settlement to a person when a vehicle is damaged and the damage to the vehicle is greater than or equal to 75 percent of the fair retail value of the vehicle prior to damage as set forth in a current edition of a nationally recognized compilation of retail values, including automated data bases, as approved by the department.

If you did not have collision coverage on the car, you are probably out of luck given that the UM portion of your policy covers your bodily injury damages, not property damages. If you were injured, you have two sources of recovery: Medical Payment benefits and UM, if you did not reject UM in writing. In Alabama, you automatically have uninsured motorist coverage UNLESS you reject it in writing. Additionally, if you live with a relative who has a car with uninsured motorist coverage, you can access their uninsured motorist coverage as well.

Hope this helps somewhat.