How Do I Recover My Deductible after a Car Accident?
Question: I was in a car accident while driving on the busy Texas freeway and the other driver was at-fault. My insurance paid for the damage to my car and I had to pay the deductible. How can I get my deductible back? Can I sue the other driver for it?
Robert’s Answer: Yes, you can sue the other driver. But your insurance company will probably go after the other driver themselves. This is called “subrogation.” If they choose to subrogate, then your insurance company will refund your deductible from whatever they collect from the other driver. There are few things you need to keep in mind if you choose to go this route.
- Contact your insurance company and ask them if they intend on pursuing the other driver. Sometimes, they may not. The insurance company will usually send you a letter advising you of their decision to seek recovery from the other driver. But I would keep in touch with them anyway.
- Find out if your insurance company will reimburse you from “first money.” That is, if the insurance company will refund your deductible first, or if they will collect their amounts first and then apply anything above that to your deductible. Most insurance companies will refund your deductible first, but you might want to call and make sure.
- If your insurance company decides not to pursue the other driver, then you must do so within the applicable statute of limitations. In Texas, the deadline to file a lawsuit to recover damages from a car accident is two years from the date of the accident. That means you must have your suit filed within that time or else your rights will be forever lost.
If you end up going after the other driver yourself, you are not restricted in just suing for your deductible. You can sue for the entire amount of your car damages. If you are successful in collecting anything, then you are entitled to reimbursement of your deductible, court costs, and any attorneys fees from the “first money” before you have to reimburse your insurance company.