Some automobile accidents only involve one vehicle. For example, you may be driving your car when a deer runs across the road and your car and the deer collide. Also, you may leave your car in your driveway during a hail storm, and the hail damages your car. The question of whether your insurance company will compensate you for the damage to your car depends on what kind of insurance coverage you have.
Kinds of Coverage
Automobile insurance policies contain different kinds of coverage. These include:
- Liability insurance, which pays for the bodily injuries and property damage caused by the insured person to a third person.
- Collision insurance, which pays for damage to the insured vehicle caused by the collision of the insured vehicle with another vehicle or object.
- No-fault, in which the insurance company of the insured pays for property damage and bodily injuries to the insured.
- Comprehensive, which pays the insured for loss due to damage that is caused by something other than a collision with another car or object. For example, loss from theft, fire, windstorm, vandalism, glass breakage, falling objects, explosion, earthquake, hail, flood or contact with animals such as birds or deer may be covered.
So, depending on your insurance policy and on state law, if your car runs into a deer (or the deer runs into your car), your losses may be covered by collision insurance or by comprehensive insurance. It depends on the provisions of your insurance policy and on your state law. Sometimes, collision coverage applies when your vehicle strikes or is struck by another vehicle or another object, such as a deer. Other times, this kind of accident is only covered by comprehensive insurance. It depends on the wording of your insurance policy and on your state court's interpretation of similar insurance provisions. To avoid surprises, asking your insurance agent how accidents like these would be treated under your policy is a good idea, and you may want to adjust your insurance coverage or deductibles.
As for the hail damage to your car, you would have to carry comprehensive automobile insurance in order to be compensated for your damages. Comprehensive insurance includes all damages to your vehicle, except for those kinds of damage specifically excluded in the policy. Unless a certain type of damage is excluded from coverage in your policy, you should be compensated for the loss. Sometimes car owners choose not to carry this type of insurance, depending on the cost of the insurance premiums, the deductibles, and the value and age of the insured car-comprehensive insurance for a junker might not make sense.
Every insurance policy has a time limitation for filing claims with your insurance company. If you are involved in an automobile accident, check your policy to find out how much time you have to file your claim. You should also contact your insurance agent to inquire about time limitations and the process for filing a claim. You don't have to file a claim if you don't want to, but it's a good idea to notify your agent about the accident and find out the requirements for filing a claim. State courts have upheld insurance policy time limitations.
State laws also have laws which set out time limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. These are called statutes of limitations. If you do not file your lawsuit within that time, your lawsuit will be barred. Even if your accident involved only your car, there could be situations in which you or your insurance company will want to sue someone, for example if you had a single-car accident because someone threw a rock at your windshield and a crash resulted.
Single-car accidents may involve other considerations. For example, if you were intoxicated at the time of your accident, you may have been arrested for driving while intoxicated. In this situation, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. Your insurance company may not have to reimburse you for your losses, depending on the terms of your policy. Also, a conviction for DWI will probably cause your insurance rates to go up.
A single-car accident may also involve hitting a pedestrian. This is a very serious situation as it may involve a civil lawsuit and criminal prosecution. You should inform your insurance agent as soon as possible, and you should also call your attorney. Your insurance company may have to defend you in court and compensate the pedestrian under the liability provisions of your policy. Your attorney may have to represent you in a criminal case.
If you have any questions about single-car accident, contact an attorney in your area.
Questions for Your Attorney
- If I have both collision and comprehensive coverage under my automobile insurance policy and I hit a deer with my car, can I be reimbursed for my losses under both provisions?
- If I left my car on the driveway instead of putting it in my garage and the car was damaged by hail, can I still be reimbursed for the hail damage to my car?
- If I ran over a pedestrian and the pedestrian files a civil lawsuit against me, can I sue my insurance company for failing to defend me in the lawsuit?
Related Resources on Lawyers.com sm
-Find an Automobile Accident Lawyer in your area
-Find an Automobile Insurance Lawyer in your area
-Visit our Auto Accidents Message Board for more help
-Visit our Insurance Claims Message Board for more help