If you’ve unfortunately been involved in an accident recently, you’re probably feeling a lot of confusion and worry right now about what’s going to happen and where to go from here. On top of that, you might be unsure about who is supposed to pay for damages in an accident. It’s a valid question as the answer involves several different factors including who was at fault and what coverage you and the other party have. Of course, other details of your personal accident will still play a role. Consulting a lawyer is the best way to be clear about what pays and who doesn’t. For a general idea though, there are a couple basics that will help you prepare you for the possibilities.

For Those Not at Fault

If the cause of the accident lies squarely with another party and not yourself, you will not be expected to pay for damages. Rather, the other party will bear the financial responsibility. In most cases their insurance will pay. After all, it is state law that everyone have liability coverage at minimum. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the other party will actually have insurance, though. If this is the case, you can expect payment to be a little trickier. There’s a potential they may be able to pay out of pocket, but this is usually rare. What’s more likely to happen is you’ll have to use your own insurance for repairs and pay a deductible. You can always ask the at-fault party to reimburse you for these costs, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to cover this either. It’s an unfortunate truth that you can’t take something when there’s nothing, so you could potentially be out some kind of cost despite the fact you were not at fault for damages.

For Both at Fault

We understand that accidents happen. They aren’t always avoidable, even if we wish they were. Regardless of this though, you will still be held accountable should you be the one who caused it. In this case, your insurance will pay to fix the damages and you’ll have to pay a deductible. Should you not have insurance, you’ll be expected to do the exact same as any at-fault party without insurance: you’ll need to pay out of pocket. If you can’t afford it and the other party has insurance, they may use their insurance for repairs and drop it. However, they could also start up a legal battle over this which could evolve into a very expensive, sticky situation. It’s infinitely better to just avoid this at all costs. Just ensure you have valid, up-to-date insurance and you won’t have a problem.

If Both Parties Have Insurance

Whether you or someone else caused the accident, insurance is a fantastic thing. If everyone involved has insurance, you’re in a much-preferred situation. In this case, you and the other party can decide which insurance should pay out to fix the damages. Should you decide to use yours, the repairs will probably go significantly faster and there will be less back-and-forth to deal with. Just know, you will have to pay a deductible, so its something to consider. Going with the other party’s insurance is a valid decision as well and will mean you don’t have to pay this deductible. They also may pay for you to rent a car while yours in being repaired if that’s something you’re concerned about.

Getting A Lawyer

Although you may likely end up paying for the car damages after an accident, you’ll still potentially deal with lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering of your own. This is when it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer to help you recover as much compensation as you deserve. Always make sure to write down any details of the accident and driver to help you lessen the stress of these unfortunate circumstances.