If you have recently experienced an automobile or truck accident, you may be wondering what steps to take next. Maybe even ask yourself what resources there are available to help you deal with this unexpected situation. While there are many aspects to consider, such as if you require medical attention or if you are deemed at fault in the accident, in this article we will discuss the resources available to meet all of your legal or auto repair needs.
Whether you need to get a new vehicle loan and send your current car or truck to the salvage yard, or you need minor auto collision repair or a few used auto body parts, you may find yourself asking if there are any legal and automotive resources you can count on after an auto accident.
The resources available to you after an auto accident can be placed into three categories:
- Insurance Company Resources
- Accident Lawyer Resources
- Collision Repair Resources
While these may be broad categories, in the article below, we will describe in detail the resources that may be available in each category.
The first thing you should do after being involved in an accident, other than receiving medical attention if necessary, is to obtain the other driver’s insurance information and contact your auto insurance company to report the accident. This will ensure that any specific details or information you will need to start your claim will be clearly communicated, as well as gives you a starting point in regards to your insurance settlement.
While the car insurance company generally has the upper hand when deciding on a settlement amount, by following the four tips listed below, you will ensure that you are getting the best possible settlement you can.
- While a claims adjuster for your insurance company will inspect the vehicle, provide an estimate as to how much it will cost to repair, and will then make a settlement offer for your claim. To ensure this offer is enough to cover the costs of repair, you should have your own mechanic provide an estimate, as well as at least two other auto collision repair shops to ensure you have an average cost of repairs required.
- Negotiation is key when it comes to insurance settlements. If the original settlement offer that your insurance company provided is in fact not enough to cover the cost of repairs for the damages sustained to your vehicle, you can negotiate with them using the quotes that you received from the repair shops in the tip above. If the adjustor still insists on a lower price, you can ask for them to justify that offer, which will give you a better understanding as to what influenced their amount.
- When it comes to fixing your vehicle, especially if your vehicle is an older model, your insurance company may try to argue that repairs done to the vehicle may increase the value of the vehicle from that of before the accident. Most insurance companies will either attempt to charge you for the additional cost or reduce their amount they will cover in relation to the cost of the increased value. To counteract this, provide a written testimony from your mechanic about how this in fact would not be in the betterment of your vehicle.
- If in the chance your vehicle has been damaged in such a way that repairing it will cost more than the value of the vehicle, your insurance company may deem your vehicle as a total loss. A total loss is determined in most states if the cost of the repairs added to the cost a salvage yard will pay for the vehicle is greater than the total value of your vehicle before the accident occurred. If you have installed any aftermarket parts on the salvageable vehicle, you can create a list of the modifications you made and how they increase the total value in order to get the settlement adjusted to a fair price and possibly help cover the cost of a new vehicle loan.
While all insurance companies vary, if you happen to be at fault in an accident and incur jail time and have paid bail bonds in order to be released, some companies do offer coverage for those bail bonds under certain stipulations. With this information, you will ensure that you are receiving a fair settlement from your insurance company to help get you back on the road quicker.
If you have been hospitalized for any reason as a direct result of your accident, you may need to speak to car accident lawyers to determine you have a case against the other driver, as well as ensure that you are getting the most advice you can. These lawyers are specialized to handle all of your legal needs, as well as helping you obtain justice for any injuries or damages that may have been to you, your family, or your vehicle.
- It’s always a good idea to factor in the age and size of the firm because this will ensure that you are being represented by an experienced car or truck accident attorney.
- When looking at a firm, research how many cases, they have represented have gone to trial, and how many of those cases they have won. This success rate should greatly influence which firm you choose to represent you.
- Check to see if the firm has ever settled any cases that may be similar to yours and if so, if there have been any cases they have represented close to your area.
- Check the negotiation rate of their cases, and the settlement that was obtained by the company. This is especially important for those in need of a trucking accident lawyer after an accident involving a commercial vehicle.
- Check the past reviews of clients that the firm has represented on independent review sites, like Yelp, to give you a good look at what others think about them.
- Research car accident lawyers and check if any have ever been disciplined in the past, such as being censured or if they have been reviewed by an ethics committee for any reason. If so, this is a good indication you do not want this firm to represent you.
- An important aspect to consider is time. How much time have they made to return your calls? How long did it take from the start of the case until it was settled? This will play a major role in the determination of whether or not the car accident lawyers are devoting enough time to handle your specific case.
- For drivers in need of a trucking accident lawyer after being involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle, there are firms out there who specialize in trucking accidents in the states of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
If you have decided that you have a potential case, and require the help of a car or trucking accident lawyer, it is important to keep these tips in mind to ensure that you are choosing the correct attorneys to represent you, so you will receive the best potential settlement possible, as well as obtain the justice that you deserve!
After receiving your settlement from your insurance company, if your vehicle was not deemed a total loss, next is choosing an adequate auto collision repair shop to work on your vehicle. While your insurance company may offer a direct repair program and will provide you with a list of their approved collision repair shops that they will recommend using, however, it is not required to do so, and you can choose any repair shop you desire.
Below we have listed the benefits of using a direct repair program shop, tips on how to choose your own independent mechanic shop, as well as tips on how to work with the shop you choose during the repairs in order to ensure you choose the best repair shop for your needs.
Benefits of using a direct repair program shop:
- Most direct repair shops have a repair and payment process that may reduce paperwork and ultimately saves time compared to using an independent mechanic shop.
- The repair shops that your insurance company is included in the direct repair program have already been prescreened in terms of quality, so you know that when you choose this shop, you will get the best quality repair possible.
- Some direct repair programs may off warranties through your insurance company, such as a warranty on the repairs that have been performed for as long as you own the vehicle. Additionally, by using a direct repair shop, you will have thousands of shops to choose from in case you happen to be traveling when you need to cash in on that warranty.
- Most of the shops in the direct repair program will be a stop fix-all for your vehicle. These shops provide an estimate during the settlement process, perform repairs, as well as a loaner vehicle to reduce the number of required steps during your claim process
- Direct repair shops will also prioritize your repairs due to the agreement with your insurance provider to help get you on the road quicker.
Tips on choosing an independent mechanic shop:
- Check reviews on the repair shops you are interested in to ensure that you are getting quality repairs and that the repair shop doesn’t install used auto body parts while charging you for a brand-new part.
- Check the repair shop for the types of certifications that they hold. While the more certifications a shop holds may increase the price of services performed, you will ensure that the quality of the repair is up to a high standard.
- When looking at repair shops, pay attention to the cleanliness and the organization of the shop itself, this will speak volumes about the quality of work that this shop will perform.
Tips on how to work with the shop during the repairs
- Ask for a detailed written estimate of the repair work that is required that includes a clear breakdown of the cost of labor and parts, and question anything that doesn’t make sense to you to ensure you know exactly what you are paying for.
- Ask about the different part options that are available for your specific make and model. Most vehicles will have multiple brands that make a specific part, although can vary greatly in price. Due to this, it is important to discuss the part options available to you to ensure you are not overpaying for a name-brand part.
- Ask about the warranties they offer on the repairs they provide on your vehicle and get a written copy of these warranties to ensure that you will be covered if anything happens to your vehicle after the repairs have been performed. By doing this you will know how much you can depend on that shop to perform quality repairs to your vehicle.
When you consider the benefits that the repair shop can offer you, you will ensure that all of your vehicle repair needs have been thoroughly addressed, and you have been provided with the best vehicle repairs possible.
While an auto accident can be a very scary, and stressful, experience to go through, with the information listed above, you will have a better understanding of what resources are available to you during this time, as well as how to ensure that all of your legal and automotive needs are met completely and thoroughly.