If you were recently involved in a car accident in Alexandria, LA and your vehicle sustained damage as a result, you have probably already contacted your insurer but still have a few questions that need to be addressed. The fact is, while the insurance agent may have provided you with some helpful information, you may not be sure how accurate all of it is. So, to help put your mind at ease, we are addressing some of the common concerns most auto accident victims have following a wreck based on information provided by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
- Do I get to choose the auto shop to have my vehicle repaired at or does my insurer?
You have the right to choose what repair shop you want to take your vehicle to, according to LA.R.S. 22:1892(D)(1). Now, your insurance adjuster may recommend a repair shop for you to go to, whether it is because the company is contracted with it or they offer some sort of incentive when you take your vehicle there, however, LA law does not require you to take it there. Therefore, don’t feel pressured to drop your vehicle off at a shop you don’t feel comfortable with.
- How do I pick the best repair shop to fix my vehicle?
Now that you know you have a say in where you can take your vehicle to get repaired, you have to decide which repair shop you want to go to. Some things the Louisiana Department of Insurance recommends you do when searching for a local repair shop include:
- Ask friends or family members you can trust for recommendations.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against the shop.
- You can also contact the Louisiana Attorney General’s office to find out if they have a record of any complaints filed against the shop as well.
- Will the repair shop use original parts from the manufacturer to replace those that sustained damage in the accident?
Not necessarily. The repair shop can use either non-Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) crash parts or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, however, it must be specified in your estimate which type is being used to repair your vehicle. Now, given that non-OEM parts are cheaper than those that come directly from the manufacturer, you may incur an additional charge if you wish to have only OEM parts used and your insurer won’t cover the total cost of them.
- Will my vehicle be replaced if it is totaled in the crash?
When the adjuster handling your claim “determines the cost to repair your car is equal to or greater than 75 percent of the value of your car, the insurance company shall choose to declare your car a total loss.” Generally, when this happens, your insurer will determine what your vehicle was worth just before the accident and provide you with this amount in a settlement. They also have “the option to take the title for your vehicle when it issues payment on your claim.” Now, it would be in your best interest to do some research of your own to find out what a car like yours, same make, model, and year, was worth in the condition yours was in prior to the accident to be sure your claims adjuster is providing you with a fair amount.
It is never a good idea to just accept the settlement offer the insurer provides until you have done your own research. If you find that the amount your insurer provided you with is far lower than what other vehicles are currently selling for, don’t be afraid to bring this to the adjuster’s attention.
- Will my insurer pay the repair shop?
While most might assume that their insurer is going to cut a check to the repair shop for the repairs that need to be made, you are liable for making the payment to them. However, LA R.S. 22:1892 (C) does require that your insurer write out a check to you, the claimant or your car accident attorney given you hired one, so you should be reimbursed for the cost of repairs given your policy covers the entire bill.
One additional question we would like to address as it often comes up is: What should I do if my auto insurance company isn’t paying my claim?
While most are under the impression that after they engage in a collision, their insurer will estimate the damage and write them a check for what it is worth. Sadly, this isn’t always how it works. Sometimes, insurance companies will offer a claimant a settlement check for a lower amount than what the damage is truly worth, while other times, they will outright deny the claim. If this is something you are dealing with, you can contact your insurer to see if they are willing to sort it out. In the event they aren’t, you can always contact the Jones Law Firm. My firm has been helping victims like you for years now recover the compensation they deserve from noncompliant insurance companies.
If you need help securing the money you are rightfully due after engaging in a crash in Alexandria, LA, contact my office so that you can speak with a knowledgeable and dedicated Alexandria, LA car accident lawyer who will see to it that the insurer handles your claim fair and accordingly.
You can call or visit the Jones Law Firm at:
1330 Jackson Street
Alexandria, LA 71301