Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with car accident lawyers near you
Car insurance companies cannot require you to take your car to a certain repair shop; however, they may make you feel coerced to choose a particular car accident repair shop.
Car insurance requirements after an accident will vary by state, but you have the right to choose your repair shop after a car accident. An experienced car accident attorney can help if you feel that you are being improperly pressured by either your own auto insurance or the insurance company of the other party involved in your accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident and you feel the insurance company is trying to infringe upon your rights, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation and to find a personal injury lawyer near you.
car INSURANCE company tactics to be aware of
It is illegal for a car insurance company to force you to use certain repair shops; however, this might not stop an insurance company from attempting to coerce you to anyway. It is your decision when it comes to choosing a repair shop for your vehicle after a car accident. So, be wary of the following tactics:
Claiming One Shop is More Convenient
A car insurance company may claim that one or several repair shops from their pre-approved body shop list is more convenient. The truth is, it may be more convenient for the insurance company, but not necessarily more convenient for you. Some repair shops may require less paperwork from the insurance company, which means less work for them and less time spent on your claim.
Claiming a Shop is Out of Network
Insurance companies are required to pay for the repairs to your vehicle no matter what shop completes the repairs. Claiming that a shop is out of network is a false claim and pressures you to choose a repair shop from their list.
Claiming Excess Expenses
Another common tactic that insurance companies use is threatening that you will have to pay for any additional expenses of the repairs if you choose a different body shop. If an insurance company is required to pay for your repairs, then they are required to pay for them even if one particular body shop charges slightly more. You are not responsible for the difference.
Claiming a Void Warranty
Car insurance companies may claim that they will not give a warranty for repairs done at a shop other than one from their preferred list. This is a completely false claim because car insurance companies do not give warranties on repairs; the auto body shop does.
what you are entitled to after a car accident
After a car accident, your car insurance company will not always tell you everything you are entitled to; the reason for this is their motivation to save the company money. Your car insurance company may try to convince you to have your damages repaired at one of their “approved” shops. The insurance company may claim that these shops are their preferred repair shops because they can guarantee the repairs; these are false claims.
These repair shops usually make the “approved” list with insurance companies because they are cheaper and can save the car insurance company money. The preferred list of repair shops exists solely to benefit the insurance company.
Why Not Just Use their Recommended Shop?
The recommended list of repair shops could perform lower quality repairs to your vehicle that could end up costing you more money in the future. Lower quality repairs could range from cosmetic imperfections to serious mechanical issues that can compromise the car’s safety. Repairing damage done by another repair shop that your insurance company already paid for would have to come from your own pocket.
You Are Entitled to Choose a Body Shop
You have the right to choose your own body shop to repair your car after a car accident; it is illegal for a car insurance company to coerce, force, or pressure you into choosing a particular shop. You should be wary of taking your car to a body shop based solely on the recommendation of an insurance company because they have a motive when recommending a shop to you. Perform your own search by looking up reviews or asking family or friends for a recommendation on where to take your vehicle for repairs.
When choosing a body shop, you may want to visit them in person to see how you feel about using their services; ask about any warranties the shop provides for repairs and be sure you are satisfied with the equipment they use and their repairs process. A good repair shop will keep you updated on all stages of the repair, including whether any other damages are found or other issues that may arise. When it comes to making the repairs on your vehicle, you are the customer, not the insurance company.
You Are Entitled to All Costs and Expenses
If your car accident was caused by the negligence of an at-fault party, then you are entitled to all costs and expenses associated with your repair. These expenses will include any necessary repairs to restore your vehicle to the condition it was in before the accident. This includes making sure the car is safe, functional, and appears cosmetically damage-free.
You are also entitled to a replacement vehicle during the time that your car is in the shop for repairs. Alternatively, you may be paid damages for loss of use of your vehicle while it is in the shop being repaired. You may also be paid damages for the diminished value of your vehicle due to the crash, which includes the damage repair and damage history.
You are entitled to damages for any personal property that was damaged in the crash such as child car seats and any personal belongings in the car. The negligent at-fault party will also be responsible for any medical bills associated with your injuries sustained in the car accident, lost wages, any assistive services, or pain and suffering.
What if You Were at Fault?
An insurance company may determine that you were at fault or partially at fault. Determining what you are entitled to if you were at fault depends on the state that the accident occurred in as well as your particular insurance policy.
Consider updating your insurance policy
Although auto insurance is required in every state, not every driver will follow the law. Your car insurance is meant to protect you in a car accident, but your coverage may not be enough. Your insurance policy will determine how much coverage you have.
Most states have insurance coverage minimums, but in many cases the minimum is not enough, especially if you are in a serious accident. You might have difficulty recovering all of your damages if the other driver does not have enough coverage; trusting other drivers to have enough coverage to pay for your damages in a car collision is risky. Get familiar with your auto policy and choose the one that best suits your needs and has enough coverage to protect you in the worst-case scenario.
A car accident can happen suddenly and at any time. If you have been injured in a car accident that is not your fault, a personal injury lawyer can help. Our experienced lawyers know how to handle simple or complex auto accident insurance claims and can negotiate with insurance claims companies on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.
why hire an auto accident lawyer?
Even if a car accident is minor, you may still have expenses and repair costs. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in seeking the maximum recovery available to you if someone else was at fault for your injuries or damages. Hiring a car accident lawyer is beneficial because car insurance companies will have to speak directly to your lawyer rather than to you; this reduces the level of coercion and pressure they might put on you to choose a particular repair shop.
An insurance company will not have your best interests in mind; their goal is to pay as little as possible for your repairs and to save the company money. Car insurance companies sometimes prey on the vulnerability of car accident victims since some people may be scared or at a loss for what to do. A car accident attorney will be your advocate and can help make the process after a car accident less stressful and more seamless.
Get Help from personal injury lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are experienced and have handled many cases nationwide involving victims of auto insurance requirements and improper coercion. We have personal injury attorneys in locations across the nation ready to assist you. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help you recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys and to locate an auto accident insurance claim lawyer near you. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.