Tips to Get Your Car Fixed After an Accident
After a car crash, one of your main priorities will be to get your car fixed so that you can go back to your normal routine. Fixing your car after an accident can be a more complicated process than it may first appear, though. Continue reading for tips on how to get your car fixed after a crash, and call a seasoned Palmdale car accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt in a drunk driving crash in the Antelope Valley.
My Insurance or Theirs?
If you are at fault for the crash, you will likely have to go through your insurance to get repairs. If another driver is at fault, you can choose to file a claim under your own comprehensive and collision coverage (assuming you have opted for that coverage) or under the at-fault driver’s insurance. Either way, your car gets fixed.
If you rely on the at-fault driver’s insurance, you will not owe a deductible, but there may be a lot of back-and-forth about establishing fault. The process will likely take much longer until the insurance company agrees to pay. You might even need to file a lawsuit if they simply refuse to accept fault.
If you rely on your own insurance, the process will likely be faster, but you will likely owe a deductible. Your premium should not go up, however, even if you file under your own insurance, so long as you were not at fault. Premiums are meant to be tied to risk, not claims; if you are not at fault, they have no reason to see you as a greater risk.
Choosing Your Auto Shop
Regardless of whether you choose your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance, you might be concerned about which auto shop you will be forced to use. You might have a favored shop with whom you have a good relationship, or at least one where you get a good deal. You will likely receive suggested auto shops from the insurance carrier, with perhaps two or three in your area. The good news is that you do not have to use their suggestions.
You can choose your own auto repair shop to fix your car after a wreck. However, there may be good reason to use the suggested shop. First of all, the suggested shop will already have a relationship with your insurance company, which cuts down on hassle and delays. Secondly, your insurer may set a certain limit on the cost of repairs based on their own inspection and estimate. If your preferred shop charges more and refuses to accept the insurance company’s lower offer, you could wind up on the hook for the extra cost. Also, you may be required to solicit several bids from different auto shops before choosing one.
Choosing Not to Fix
If your car is absolutely or nearly totaled in the crash, or if it is fixable but there will still be some ongoing cosmetic issue, you might wonder whether it’s worth attempting to repair at all. Thankfully, you do not have to get your car fixed after the wreck. The claims adjuster will issue an estimate for the repair–let’s say $3,000. You can opt to take the money instead of getting the repairs done. You can even take the cash and get your car repaired much more cheaply by a friend instead of using their suggested auto repair shop.
Note, however, that if you do choose not to fix, the insurance company could exclude the damaged portion of your car from future coverage. Additionally, if you have an active auto loan on the car, you will probably need to take the fix.
What if Your Car is Totaled?
If your car is totaled in a crash, you do not have to keep the car. If the estimate for repairs is higher than the value of the car, the insurance company may make an offer to simply buy the car from you at fair market value. You can accept their offer, or you can reject their initial offer and try to negotiate a better price.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt by a negligent driver in California, talk to a dedicated and professional Palmdale car accident attorney about pursuing a claim for damages by calling the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.