One of the first things you will want to do after a car accident is to get your car fixed. However, it’s often best to wait to determine whether insurance will pay for crash damage repairs. You may have multiple options to get your property damage covered.
If you have questions about getting your car fixed after an accident in Fort Lauderdale, David I. Fuchs can help guide you. As an experienced car wreck attorney, he can explain everything you need to know and help you navigate this challenging period.
Reach out to us today for a free, initial consult.
Steps To Take at the Scene of a Car Crash
While you should wait to complete the repairs on your vehicle, there are some steps you should take at the scene of an accident.
Take Pictures & Videos of the Damage
Following a car accident, injuries should be your immediate concern. Seek medical attention right away. However, if you are able, you should also take pictures and videos of the damage to your car, the other vehicles involved, and the accident scene. If you are being taken away for medical treatment, ask someone else to take photos for you.
These images will be used as part of your insurance claim and should help you get compensation for any damages incurred.
Move Your Vehicle Out of the Way
After you call 911 and an officer completes a police report or car accident report, you should move your vehicle out of the roadway. Do your best to avoid impeding the flow of traffic. If your vehicle is operable, move it to the right side of the road or into a nearby parking lot.
If it cannot be driven, contact a company to tow your vehicle to your home or a safe location.
Property Damage and No-Fault Insurance Law
Florida is one of a handful of states that has no-fault insurance. This means you have a couple of different kinds of coverage options, including:
- Personal injury protection (PIP). Personal injury protection covers your own injuries in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Property damage liability (PDL). This covers any damage you might do to other people’s property and cars.
In the event of an accident that is not your fault, you’ll seek property damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Keep in mind, however, that this payment will only kick in when the at-fault driver’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident. The process of investigating an accident and determining fault can take time, so ask your insurance company if they can pay for repairs and obtain reimbursement from the other insurance company. Otherwise, you could be waiting weeks for your car.
On the other hand, it’s possible that your vehicle might be considered a “total loss.” This occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds 75% of its fair market value. In this case, you’ll receive the fair market value of your vehicle.
What’s Next to Get Your Vehicle Repaired?
After your injuries are treated, there are additional crucial steps to take to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve in order to get your vehicle fixed.
Notify the Insurance Company
Many car insurance companies have timelines that must be followed to get your damages covered. You should call your own insurance company and notify them of the crash within 24 hours or when you agreed to in your contract. If you are filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, they should also be notified as soon as possible. This will allow the insurance companies to gather information about your property damage and potentially offer you.
Get a Quote for Your Car Accident Damages
Before you accept a settlement offer and assist your attorney in determining the value of your case, you should get one or more quotes for the cost of repairs to your vehicle. Find a certified mechanic with the experience needed to repair the damage your car received.
Don’t allow them to talk you into aftermarket parts and shortcuts. Get an estimate for the total price of any repairs needed and a timeline of those repairs, so you will know how long to retain a rental vehicle. There’s a possibility that an insurance company will pay for your rental while you wait on the repairs.
Negotiate an Insurance Settlement
You should never take an initial settlement offer from an insurance company. It is likely a “lowball” settlement offer that will not cover all your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. Instead, let your car accident lawyer send a demand letter and negotiate a fair settlement that incorporates all of your car repair needs.
Get Compensation and Repair Your Car
It can take several months or over a year to receive the compensation you deserve. If your attorney must file a lawsuit and take the insurance companies or at-fault party to court, it could take even longer.
Despite this, you should maintain your resolve and trust that your lawyer will help you get the maximum compensation possible. Once you receive a settlement or money from a jury verdict, you can take your car to be repaired at a certified repair shop in Fort Lauderdale.
Handling Calls from Insurance Adjusters
Throughout the course of the investigation, you may receive calls from an insurance claims adjuster. How to proceed with these calls depends largely on who is asking. If the request comes from your insurance company, you may be required speak with the adjuster under the terms of your contract. On the other hand, if the request is coming from the other insurance company, you’re not required to do so – and probably shouldn’t.
Either way, we recommend hiring a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney to represent you. They can provide valuable guidance relating to insurance companies and how to answer questions.
If You Had Medical Bills
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, you’ll turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy to pay for your medical bills and associated expenses. In some cases, however, you may be able to obtain additional compensation from the at-fault driver. We strongly recommend hiring a car accident attorney to see if this applies in your case.
Car accidents can be stressful, but waiting around for payment, whether it’s for a car or medical bills, can add stress to the experience. As soon as you’re able, contact a car accident attorney and ask for a free initial consultation. In this meeting, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer will review the specifics of your case and provide valuable advice about your next steps. Hiring an attorney from the beginning can save you time in negotiations and money on your medical expenses. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve – get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney.
Things to Remember When Fixing Your Car
You should remember some things when getting your car fixed after a motor vehicle accident.
- Always call 911 and ensure the police officer completes a car accident report
- Keep track of all your expenses related to property damage
- Provide your attorney with your files so they can determine how much your case is worth
- Don’t give any insurance company a statement until you get legal advice
- Don’t accept an initial “lowball” settlement offer from the insurance company
- Don’t be afraid to take the at-fault party to court to get what you deserve
Call David Fuchs about Getting Your Car Fixed After an Accident in Fort Lauderdale
You will likely be in a hurry to get your car fixed after a crash. However, it can be beneficial to wait. You should gather as much information as possible about the damages, liability, and who will pay for your losses. Then, once you have been compensated, you can get your car repaired.
Attorney David I. Fuchs is here to help. We can help you find transportation options while your car is inoperable. If your vehicle is totaled, trust us to handle getting your car fixed after an accident in Fort Lauderdale. Reach out today to get started.