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How to Get my Vehicle Fixed After an Accident
When you have been in a car accident, opened a claim with the insurance company, began seeking medical treatment you may wonder: what next? The attorneys in our law firm have found that a good deal of people will put off getting their car repaired in order to focus on other pressing matters. There is no right or wrong, but living in Southern California, Orange County especially, there is a strong need to have a working, functioning car.
Today, we are going to go over how to go about getting your car repaired, the steps to take in order to repair any damage, and what can happen when you trust the insurance company to do what is best when needing repairs.
How do I get my Car Repaired After an Accident?
You will be given many options on how to get your car repaired after your accident. After a car accident, you’ll file a claim with the insurance company and they will likely give you a list of body shops near you that will be able to fix your vehicle. However, you don’t always have to go to their recommended body shop or mechanic. If you have a mechanic you trust that will do quality work, there should be no problem with you going to an auto repair shop that you are comfortable with.
Get a Quality Estimate
Getting a quality estimate is incredibly important and that is why it is suggested that if you do not have an auto body mechanic you trust, take it to a few shops to get an estimate before you decide on who will work on your vehicle. Some things to check before choosing a repair shop is as follows:
- Check to see if they are ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified;
- Do they have AAA affiliation?
- Certain shops who are affiliated with AAA can give you a discount at their discretion;
- Ask about any warranties on the repairs and products that they are using;
- If they have an online presence, check reviews to see if they come recommended;
- If you take your car to more than one shop (as we highly recommend), compare estimates and work that each shop says needs to be made
Getting multiple estimates may seem stressful, however, you want to make sure that the shop you are choosing is not trying to overcharge you for work that does not need to be performed.
Auto Certifications to Look for
We mentioned a little bit above about certifications when you take your car in for repairs. Taking your vehicle in will be stressful enough, here are some certifications to look for when choosing a mechanic:
- ASE Certification;
- Better Business Bureau (BBB);
- ICAR (Inter-industry) Conference on Auto Collision Repair;
- NAPA Autocare;
- Parts Plus Car Care;
- PPG Certification
When you take your car to the garage, ask as many questions about what they do, how they do it, etc. Never feel like you are getting the run around or they are not taking you “for a ride” so to speak.
How to get to the Auto Repair Shop
Once you choose an auto repair shop, determine whether or not your car will make it there. If not, check to see if roadside assistance is included in your auto policy or if you have AAA, contact them to tow it to the shop of your choosing.
How Long do I Have to Repair my Vehicle?
The first thing to do after you choose a repair shop is check with your insurance company to see how long you have to get your car into a shop for repairs. Some insurance companies will have a statute of limitations on how long after your accident you have to make auto repairs (this does not include a totaled car). Additionally, certain costs may begin to accrue if you wait too long to repair the damage. For instance, if you wait too long to get your windshield repaired and there is additional damage from wear and tear of still driving it, you may be looking at having to replace the windshield instead of fixing a portion of it. This could fall under maintenance neglect and will likely not be covered by the at-fault insurance company when the time comes to demand for a settlement.
Watch Out for Insurance Companies
Ideally, you will never be speaking with the insurance companies. Especially not the insurance adjuster of the at-fault party. Your car accident lawyer will be dealing with them directly. Should they try to reach out to you about repairs, contact us right away.
The insurance company will have an adjuster look at the damages in order to appraise them. However, and this is important, do not let the insurance company’s estimate delay necessary repairs. For instance, if the insurance company does not inspect your vehicle within a week or two and you have already gotten a reasonable estimate for repairs, move forward with the repairs and keep the estimates and finally billing. This is so that your auto accident attorney can include these costs in our demand.
You always want to make sure that you are getting inspections and estimates from repair shops that are independent of the insurance company. The reason being, if you get two or three estimates that are higher than the one the insurance company comes up with, the insurance company’s estimate is likely a poor one. Which is, believe it or not, very common.
Getting Around Without a Car
The time that your vehicle is in the shop will likely leave you without a reliable means of transportation. Which likely means that it will be difficult for you to get to and from work, etc. Some options are:
- Rental Car – check with your insurance carrier (or the carrier of the at-fault party) to see if they cover the costs of a rental vehicle while your car is having repairs done. If those are not available to you, shop around for the best deals. Some rental car company prices vary depending on age, type of car, and where you are located.
- Loaner Car – Does the shop or dealership have a loaner car they can let you use while your car is in the shop? A good deal of auto dealerships will send you on your way with a loaner car so you will not have to worry about public transportation.
- Public Transit – Living in Orange County, public transportation is not as easily assessable as living in much bigger metropolitan areas. However, if there is a means to do so, public transportation is definitely a viable option.
These are just a few common suggestions that we have. There are also other services you can use from Uber to Lyft (if affordable) to help you get around in the mean time.
Need More Help? Contact an Auto Accident Attorney Today!
We know that this process is stressful. That is why we are here to help you! Contact us today to not only discuss your case, but your options on where to take your vehicle. You should never feel alone during this process. The car accident lawyers in our office take pride in putting the needs of our clients first. We believe that the only thing you should have to focus on is getting your health back.
If you are suffering from serious injuries due to an accident, contact one of our Orange County attorneys today. Consultations are free!