Where should I take my car after an accident?
After an accident, you have the right to take your vehicle to any mechanic or dealership of your choosing. Under California law, your insurance provider cannot penalize you for not using the mechanic of their choosing. However, they can make recommendations on which mechanic to use under certain circumstances.
For most people, the primary focus following a serious motor vehicle accident is their physical health. These collisions have the potential to cause permanent or even life-threatening injuries in some cases. But bodily injuries are not the only significant claim available to many accident victims.
If your vehicle suffered damage in a collision with a negligent motorist, you could recover compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing it. If you have questions about your right to property damage compensation after a crash, speak with the Los Angeles car accident attorneys of Ellis Injury Law right away.
Your choice of repair shop
In some states, insurers are allowed to force a driver to use a specific auto body shop or risk denial of their claim. This is not the case in California. According to California Insurance Code §758.5, an insurance company may not require their insured drivers to use a specific mechanic or repair shop. According to the Insurance Code, the carrier does have the right to suggest an auto body repair shop under limited circumstances. These circumstances include:
- The insured requested a recommendation from their insurance provider, or
- The insured was informed in writing of their right to choose their auto body shop
If the insurance company makes a verbal recommendation that is accepted by the insured, the company must send a formal written notice within 5 days. What’s more, if the insured accepts this recommendation, the insurance company must restore the damaged vehicle to its original condition without additional costs other than what is allowed under the policy or state law.
Not only can the insurance company not force you to select an auto body shop, but they also cannot retaliate against you for going against their recommendations. The insurance code prevents carriers from reducing the benefits they payout based on the lower rate they might have received at their preferred shop.
The process of negotiating with your insurance company over vehicle repairs can be frustrating. Thankfully, the experienced car accident lawyers of Ellis Injury Law can assist you with every step of the process.
Ways to get your property damages covered
When your vehicle sustains damage in an accident through no fault of your own, there are a few ways you could recover compensation for the cost of those repairs. These options largely depend on the insurance coverage for your vehicle as well as for the at-fault driver.
If you have comprehensive auto coverage, you are entitled to file a claim with your own insurance carrier for your property damage. These are no-fault policies, meaning you have the right to seek benefits under the policy no matter who caused the accident. Because these are no-fault claims, this is typically the fastest way to recover the cost of your repairs. In many cases, your insurance company will deal directly with the auto body shop so that you don’t have to.
If you do not comprehensive coverage, your best option is to pursue a liability claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. If the other side does not dispute liability, this process can go smoothly. In many cases, these carriers could also deal directly with your auto body shop.
Things can become more complicated when the other driver does not accept liability or otherwise refuses to settle your property damage claim. In these cases, you will likely have to pay for your own repairs and seek reimbursement later.
An attorney can advise you on where to take your car after an accident
A car accident attorney from Ellis Injury Law can work with the insurance companies to recover compensation for your property damage claim. We are prepared to assist you with every aspect of your claim, beginning with assistance in determining where to have your vehicle repaired. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with Ellis Injury Law right away.