Car Accidents

Fixing Your Car after an Accident

When you have been involved in a devastating car accident, it can turn your entire life upside down. One of the first things you will need to do following your collision other than getting medical care is get your car repaired. However, the auto repair process can be daunting, especially when you are injured.

Get the legal guidance and support you need to cover your costs and get back to your life after a car accident. Contact an experienced Illinois car accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. for help.

What to Do After an Illinois Car Accident

You may not be sure about your next steps after your car accident. What you do early on could significantly impact your insurance and civil claim.

Here are the most important steps you need to take after a car accident in Illinois:

  1. Contact law enforcement and emergency responders. You need to get the police to the accident scene so a crash report can be filed. You also need to be seen by a healthcare provider so invisible injuries can be ruled out, injuries can be treated, and your medical records can become established.
  2. While waiting for emergency responders and police to arrive, do what you can to document the scene. Use your phone to take pictures of your injuries, property damage, and vehicle damages, and write down your version of how the accident occurred.
  3. Obtain any contact and insurance information of other parties so your attorney can access this information when they investigate the accident and file a claim against the liable party.
  4. After you obtain a medical evaluation and are stable, reach out to a lawyer. Your lawyer can help establish liability, get your vehicle repaired, get your medical expenses stayed, and start to rebuild your life.

Getting Your Car Towed

In some cases, getting your vehicle towed from the accident scene will be necessary. You can choose an auto body repair shop that you would like your vehicle to go to or an impound lot of your choosing. Suppose you cannot make these decisions due to the severity of your injuries. In that case, law enforcement will likely have your vehicle towed to the closest impound lot or salvage yard. You will immediately incur tow and vehicle storage fees when this happens.

Since Illinois is a fault-based state for auto insurance, if your car needs to be towed, the insurance company will only cover the expense if the defendant purchased roadside assistance as part of their auto insurance policy. If not, and you bought roadside assistance coverage, you may be able to get your vehicle towed by covering the fees out of your pocket. You can then seek recovery of these expenses in your civil claim against the at-fault party.

Selecting an Auto Repair Shop

When your vehicle is not damaged beyond repair, you have the right to select an auto repair shop of your choice to get your vehicle fixed. However, the insurance company may force you to use a particular shop or one you do not trust to take care of your vehicle. Fortunately, your attorney can step in and ensure you exercise your right to get your vehicle repaired by a professional you can rely on.

Preferred Auto Body Shops

Insurance companies often offer a list of preferred vehicle repair shops and autobody shops that they would like you to work with. If you are financing your vehicle, your lender can require you to choose an auto body shop from their list of preferred technicians.

However, in many situations, you have the authority to choose who you want to make repairs to your vehicle. When you are deciding on an auto repair shop, some of the best ways to make your decision include:

  • Reading reviews online
  • Determining whether the repair shop is ASE certified
  • Asking about repair warranties
  • Considering your car brands auto repair shop
  • Comparing auto repair estimates

Auto repair shops certified with the Better Business Bureau, AAA, Napa AutoCare, or other reputable affiliations are more likely to have reasonable prices and be trustworthy.

Rental Cars after an Accident

Your ability to obtain a rental car will depend on whether the liable party purchased rental car coverage. If the liable party purchased rental car coverage, their insurance provider should be responsible for covering the cost of your rental car.

If you purchase rental car coverage and the liable party does not have rental car coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company to get the cost of your rental car covered.

However, if you do not carry rental car coverage and the liable party did not either, you need to cover the rental car cost out of pocket. Fortunately, you can seek recovery of these expenses in your civil claim against the liable party.

Keep In Contact with the Insurance Company

Dealing with the insurance company is one of the more tedious aspects of the car accident claims process. The insurance company will likely be in contact several times while they work to resolve your claim. The insurance adjuster will need to know more about the accident to establish liability.

However, be careful in discussing the details of your case without your lawyer present, as insurance companies have been known to manipulate the statements given to them by even the most well-intentioned claimant.

Once the insurance company has evaluated the details of your case, they will review your damages to determine how much they should offer to settle your claim. If you can come to a settlement agreement, the insurance company will cut you a check that you can use to cover your expenses as you see fit.

How to Cover Vehicle Repairs

When someone else is responsible for causing your car accident, they should be responsible for covering the costs of your vehicle repairs. If the defendant does not have auto insurance coverage, you can file a civil claim against them to recover both your economic damages and not economic damages, including the cost of your vehicle repairs. If the defendant has auto insurance coverage, you can file a claim with their auto insurance provider to recover certain types and damages.

Be advised that filing and staying with your insurance company will likely increase your premiums.

Dealing with the Repair Shop

Vehicle repair shops often work with insurance companies to determine which repairs need to be made. The insurance company has the authority to deny certain repairs depending on the circumstances of your case.

In dealing with the repair shop after a car accident, it is important to find out:

  • What types or brands of parts are they going to use?
  • How much are labor costs?
  • What work is being done to your vehicle?
  • How long will it take to make the repairs?

When Is a Car Considered Totaled?

Vehicles are considered totaled when the cost of repairs is more than the vehicle is worth. If an insurance company totals your car, they will send you a check for the vehicle’s value.

You can then use this money to purchase a new vehicle or make payments on your financed car, even if it was damaged. If you have gap insurance in place, that will cover the total amount of your auto loan.

What If Your Claim Is Denied?

Do not be surprised if the insurance company denies your claim for auto repairs. Insurance companies look for every opportunity to deny claimants or reduce compensation. If your claim was denied, you should have your car accident lawyer step in and negotiate.

Generally, by getting your lawyer involved, you can show the insurance company that you are taking your case seriously. Your lawyer will never pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement offer. We will be prepared to bring the insurance company to court if it means getting you the compensation you are entitled to.

Can Your Insurance Company Drop You?

Most insurance companies will not drop policyholders unless they fail to make their premium payments or file multiple claims during a given period. If you haven’t filed a claim with your insurance company and your policy is paid up to date, there is no reason for the insurance company to drop you.

However, if you have filed multiple claims with your insurance provider, they do have the authority to drop you from your policy or refuse to issue a new policy once your premium has expired.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Illinois for Help

You should not be stuck covering the costs of your vehicle repairs when someone else is responsible. Get help holding the insurance company accountable and recovering the compensation that’s rightfully yours by contacting a dedicated Illinois car accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.

We offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to injury victims across Illinois. Call (312) 236-2900 or fill out our online form.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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