You might be driving along the highway with your car, but the next minute your life suddenly changes. Anybody can be involved in a car accident at any moment. It takes just one instant to cause an accident: one glance at a text message, one driver suddenly weaving into your lane or one reckless decision by an intoxicated driver.
California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System SWITRS 2017-Report shows that 3,904 people died and 277,160 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. Many people find it difficult to navigate the vehicle repair process after a stressful car accident.
What steps should you take to fix your car if it was in an accident?
California Property Damage Insurance Claim
California car accident settlements can include both personal injury and property damage claims. California has several steps that can be taken to fix your car after an accident. This includes filing a claim through your insurance company for property damage, getting independent estimates, and choosing a collision repair shop that will do the work.
It can be overwhelming. It is important to understand your rights in order to receive full compensation. Your attorney will handle your property damage claim if you have hired an experienced car accident lawyer. These lawyers generally do not take any part in the property damage settlement.
Which insurance company do I file a claim with?
If you are the driver who caused the collision and they have sufficient insurance to cover your vehicle’s damages, you can file a third-party claim through their insurance. This is also known as a third-party insurance claim. If you are the one who caused the collision and have collision insurance, you can file a claim through your insurance company. If the other driver is at fault, you can file through your insurance. You will have to pay the deductible if you file a claim through your insurer.
Obtaining Auto Repair Estimates
After you contact your insurance company to file a claim, they will assign an appraiser or adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle. The insurance company might suggest that you bring your vehicle to one of their preferred auto shops for an estimate. You should also contact a car repair shop to get an independent estimate for your vehicle’s repair. You should not authorize repairs to be started until your insurance company has assessed the damage to your vehicle.
California: Know Your Rights
It is crucial that you are aware of your legal rights regarding collision repair in California. In order to get a settlement, you are not required to use the auto repair facility recommended by the insurance company. You have the option to choose your own auto repair shop and still receive insurance compensation. If your vehicle sustains more damage during repair, your chosen repair facility should stop work immediately and contact your insurance company.
In addition, you have the right to insist that OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer) are used for the repair of your vehicle. If your insurance does not cover OEM parts, you might have to pay the difference.
Gap Insurance and Your Totaled Car
If the repair cost of your vehicle exceeds the fair market value, the insurance company will pay less — the actual cash value (ACV). The vehicle is considered a “total lose” in this instance. You would still have to pay the lender any money you owe to a lender for the vehicle. It is very useful to have gap insurance in this instance to cover the difference or actual costs of replacing the vehicle
Your insurance company may be able to file a claim against the other party for property damage if you are the victim in a California hit-and-run collision. Your collision coverage may cover your vehicle’s damages if the other driver is not identifiable. However, you will still need to pay the deductible. California’s hit-and-run law does not allow you to raise your insurance rates.
Obtaining Car Accident Compensation for Your Injuries
You may be eligible for a financial settlement if you are injured in a car accident. This can be done through either filing an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit. Your car accident compensation amount will depend on how severe your injuries were, what losses you suffered, and who was deemed to have been at fault.
You should call 911 immediately if you are involved in a car accident that results in injuries. Even if your injuries are not severe enough for you to need an ambulance ride to the hospital, paramedics on the scene at or an urgent care center or hospital should still evaluate you.
This is an important step to document your injuries in case you need insurance or a lawsuit. You don’t want the insurance company to use your absence of immediate medical attention to claim that you weren’t actually injured or as severe as you claimed. You can still get compensation for medical expenses even if the accident was caused by an uninsured or uninsured driver.
Speak to an attorney FIRST
Not only will you need to notify the insurance company about your accident, but you must also inform them of the extent of your injuries. Insurance companies are known for trying to convince accident victims to accept lowball settlements when the victim’s claim will be worth more.
It is best to contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience in negotiating settlements for victims of car accidents before you talk to any insurance companies. Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you get fair compensation for car accidents.
Our Car Accident Personal Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles can help!
Car accidents cause injury, claim lives, as well as causing billions of dollars in property damage annually in the United States. The experience of being in a car accident can be traumatic and stressful.
John W. Stenson’s team of car accident attorneys can help you navigate the process of getting a settlement for your California car accident. John W. Stenson will provide expert representation so you are not left at the mercy of large insurance companies. We will do everything possible to make sure you get the maximum amount of compensation for all your losses, including any injuries or damage to your vehicle.
For a FREE consultation, contact us today using the online form or phone number below. We are available 24 hours a day to answer your calls!