If you carry comprehensive auto insurance (meaning you have full coverage for any damage to your vehicle) you can deal directly with your own auto insurance company to receive payment for the damage to your car, even though there is a third party who caused the accident. Sometimes if you work with your own carrier they will handle your case more quickly and be more apt to treat you fairly when compensating you for any property damage.
If you do not carry full or comprehensive coverage, then you will have to deal with the third-party insurance company (meaning the auto insurance company for the person who caused your accident.) This can be a little more complicated, because the third-party insurance company will often trick you into giving them recorded statements and other information about your injuries and other issues of the case, instead of just focusing on the property damage issues and paying you out quickly. You want to be sure to limit your communications with the third-party carrier to that which is strictly related to the property damage such as damage to your bike, motorcycle or car, towing expenses, storage expenses, transportation of your vehicle to a repair shop and payment for any other personal property that was damaged in the accident. Read more about the various types of insurance coverage that can cover your property damage and injury claims in auto, bicycle, motorcycle and pedestrian accident cases.
If you are injured in the accident and you don’t have comprehensive auto insurance, your best bet is to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney before you make contact with the third-party insurance carrier. Doing this will help you keep the property damage claim separate from the bodily injury claim, and thereby limit the risk of disclosing too much information about your injuries in the property damage claim where it is not relevant.
If you are not injured in the accident, then you typically will not need an attorney to simply deal with the property damage claim. This is a fairly user-friendly process that can be navigated easily and quite quickly without an attorney. However, I would urge you to check the Kelly Blue Book website and scour Craigslist ads to make sure you are getting fair value for your bike, motorcycle or car in the property damage settlement. There are companies out there who will handle your property damage claims, so you can get help with this process, yet not have to bring on an attorney. Again though… if you are injured, you should really consult with a qualified bicycle, motorcycle, auto accident attorney to be sure you don’t make any missteps in your case.