Getting Your Car Fixed

“Many times, people are involved in accidents in which their cars are damaged whether they have medical injuries or not. Here are some of the most common questions we receive about property repair. Call us for answers applicable to your unique circumstances.” – Joe Hanyon

1. Do I have to get my car repaired at the body shop suggested by my insurance company? No, Pennsylvania state law states that the appraiser may not mention the name of any repair shop, unless the appraiser includes disclosure that there is no requirement to use any specific repair shop.

2. How do I know who was at fault in my accident? The police report will indicate who the officer felt was at fault in the accident. However, the insurance company will decide who it feels is at fault through their own investigation.

3. How does the adjuster determine fault and how long does it take? The insurance company can usually determine fault within two weeks from the time it receives the claim. They investigate the claim by getting the police report, taking statements from all parties, and photographing the cars and the accident scene.

4. What if the other driver does not have insurance? File an uninsured motorist claim under your automobile insurance policy. This coverage will help you with the property damage as well as any injury claim.

5. My car was damaged in an accident and I don’t know what to do. Immediately report the claim to the other person’s insurance company and your own company. The exchange slip you received at the accident scene should contain the company’s information.

6. What can I do to get my car fixed faster? If your car is drivable, get a written estimate from the body shop of your choice for the repairs. If it is not driveable, let the adjuster know the location of the car for assessment of damages.

7. What can I do when my car is not driveable and I need a rental car? You can wait for the adjuster to provide the rental or rent a car yourself and possibly be reimbursed by the adjuster. Remember, insurance companies do not have to provide rental vehicles, but may pay for loss of use. You can use these funds to rent a vehicle.

8. Does the insurance company have to pay the additional insurance coverage on the rental car? NO, they do not. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your auto policy, it will transfer to the rental. If you do not, the rental company will require you to pay for the extra coverage out of your own pocket. You will not be reimbursed for this expense.

9. Can I be compensated for the personal items that were damaged in the accident? Yes, you can. These items will be repaired or replaced for their value at the time of the accident.

10. What does it mean when they say my car is a total loss? It means that the estimated cost to repair your car is more than the fair market value of the car before the collision; the insurance company will not pay for the repair work, but will pay the fair market value of the car before the collision.

11. How is the value of my car determined? There are several guides to go by when valuing a vehicle. The overall condition of the car is taken into consideration. Area dealerships will also give quotes on vehicle values.

12. Do I have to accept the offer that was made on my car? No. You can try to negotiate with the adjuster for a higher offer. Make sure you are prepared to justify why you think the vehicle is worth more than what they are offering.

13. The adjuster’s offer will not even pay off my loan. Can I make them pay off the loan? The insurance company does not have to pay off the loan. They make an offer on your car based on what the car was worth before the accident. You are still responsible for the loan.

14. The offer for property damage is less than loan payoff and the adjuster said I could do a substitution of collateral. What is that? That is when the finance company allows you to get another car and adds the remainder of the old loan to the new loan. (Not recommended).

15. I’m not happy with the property damage settlement. Can I get more for my injury settlement? No, these claims are completely different. Their value and settlement are separate.

16. Can I request that only new parts be used for repairing my car? Yes, it is your car and only you have the right to decide which parts to use. However, the insurance company may refuse to pay for the extra cost of new parts.

17. Do I have to settle my injury claim when I settle my property damage? No, usually the property damage is settled first. If you are hurt, after you have been released from a doctor and know the full extent of your injuries, the personal injury claim can be settled. Because personal injury law is so complex, we recommend you consult an attorney.

These materials are provided for information only and are not intended to be legal advice. Applicability of the legal principles discussed within these materials may differ substantially from your individual situation. The use of any information provided here should not be taken as establishing any contractual or other form of attorney-client relationship between MHK Attorneys and the reader or user of this information.

To get more questions answered about car accidents, contact us and request a free copy of our book, 10 Biggest Secrets to Winning Your Pennsylvania Car Accident Case: A Guide for Injured Pennsylvania Drivers. Lawyers at MHK Attorneys offer free consultations.