What Happens to a Vehicle After a Riverdale Car Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents are frightening even when no one is injured. In the adrenaline rush after an accident, it could be difficult to maintain your composure. If you are lucky, your car will still be drivable, and you will not require emergency medical care.

If your car is not drivable or you need to be transported to a hospital following a car accident in Riverdale, you could be wondering what happens to your vehicle and how to get it back. You could also have questions about how to get fair value for your vehicle if the insurer says it is totaled. Consulting a car wreck attorney could help you with all your questions.

Who Requested the Tow?

After a vehicle is towed away, the process of retrieving it depends on why it was towed and who requested the tow.

Driver Requested Tow

If a vehicle is not drivable after an accident but the driver is uninjured, the driver might request a tow to a location of their choosing. The driver could then direct repairs to the vehicle in cooperation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Police Requested Tow

When a driver is injured and transported for medical treatment, the police might require that the car be towed. In that case, the driver could contact the police for information about reclaiming the vehicle.

At-Fault Driver Pays Towing and Storage Fees

Georgia follows a traditional liability system in which the at-fault driver is responsible for all the expenses associated with an accident. An at-fault driver must pay the towing and storage fees for their own vehicle. If the at-fault driver has collision or comprehensive coverage, their insurer might pay the towing and storage fees for their vehicle.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company pays the towing and storage fees for other vehicles involved in the wreck. In some cases the vehicle owner could present the at-fault driver’s insurance information and the facility will release the car. In other cases the driver might need to pay the fees initially and submit the bill for reimbursement.

If an at-fault driver is uninsured, the other drivers might need to rely on their own insurance to pay towing and storage fees. Sometimes, if they do not have uninsured motorist coverage, the driver might need to pay those fees even if they were not at fault. A skilled Riverdale attorney might be able to identify sources of insurance that could reimburse a driver’s towing and storage expenses after an accident.

What if the Vehicle is a Total Loss?

If a car insurer determines that the cost of repairing a vehicle exceeds its value, they might deem the vehicle a total loss. In that case, the Georgia Administrative Code Rule 120-2-52.06 requires the insurer to pay the owner either the vehicle’s cash value or buy them a replacement vehicle. Insurers almost always elect to pay the cash value.

The law is specific about how insurers must value a vehicle they deem a total loss. They must identify other vehicles of identical make and model, with similar options and mileage. After assessing the market value of at least two such vehicles, they may offer a settlement to the owner. The settlement should include the taxes and fees the owner would pay if they bought a similar vehicle. Once a driver accepts the insurer’s offer, the insurer owns the wrecked vehicle.

Vehicle owners need not accept the insurer’s first offer. A savvy accident attorney could advise an owner about handling negotiations to get fair compensation for a totaled vehicle.

Seek a Competent Riverdale Attorney for Help with Your Vehicle After a Car Accident

What ultimately happens to a vehicle after a car accident in Riverdale depends on who was at fault, who called the tow, and the available sources of insurance coverage. Even when the at-fault driver’s insurance is sufficient, insurers often resist making adequate settlements.

If you have sustained injuries in a vehicle crash, a local lawyer could advise you about getting appropriate compensation. There is only a short window to act, so call to schedule a consultation today.