How to Get Your Car Repaired after an Accident

getting car repaired after accident

A car accident can cause severe damage. If you’re lucky enough to walk away from an accident with only a few minor bumps and bruises, your car will have done its job and absorbed the majority of the impact. But whatever the extent of your injuries, you will likely face hefty car repair costs. 

We look at your options for getting your car repaired after an accident, from using your own insurance coverage to pursuing a personal injury claim.

Determining Liability and Estimating Your Repair Costs

You have multiple options to get your car repaired after an accident, but the first step is always to determine how much it will cost.

The route you should take to estimate your repair costs depends on who you will recover your expenses from. This is determined by who caused the accident.

If the car accident wasn’t your fault, you can:

  • Claim through the insurance company that provides your policy
  • Claim through the at-fault party’s (such as another driver) insurance company.

If the accident was your fault or the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you can claim on your own insurance.

This is important to mention, as the route you take may impact where you go to get your car repaired.

Certain insurance companies may have a preferred auto shop for estimates and car repairs. The benefit of this is the repair shop will be reputable and vetted, and the turnaround will likely be fast because the insurance company is a repeat customer. However, this comes with a downside — since the repair shop is so familiar with the insurance company and wants to continue getting work, they may reduce their estimates.

While you don’t have to go with the insurance company’s recommendation and you are free to choose whichever auto shop you like, the insurance company may still require the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed a quote from their chosen provider.

This is why it’s beneficial to hire an attorney after your accident. Our car accident attorneys in San Antonio can seek second opinions and negotiate a fair settlement that covers your repairs — even if it exceeds the quote provided by the insurance company.

The Process of Getting Your Car Repaired after an Accident: Your Insurer

You’re legally required to have car insurance, but it’s vital to check your policy to see what’s included. All policies have what’s called liability coverage. This covers repairs to another driver’s vehicle and medical bills if you cause an accident.

However, you might also have collision coverage, which pays to repair or replace your own car after an accident.

The main benefit of getting your car repaired through your own insurance company is speed, as there is no need to prove liability as you would if you were to pursue repair expenses from the other driver’s insurance company.

Bear in mind, though, that you will have to consider your deductible. If your policy has a $500 collision deductible and your expenses total $2,000, your insurance company will pay the difference, leaving you with $1,500.

If you do not have collision coverage or your accident wasn’t your fault, you can recover your car repair costs from the at-fault driver’s insurer.

If you claim on your insurance and it’s later determined you did not cause the accident, your insurance company can recover the amount from the liable party’s insurer and refund your deductible.

The Process of Getting Your Car Repaired after an Accident: The At-Fault Party’s Insurer

Just as you are required to carry liability insurance, every other driver in Texas is also obligated to. Not doing so is an offense.

Liability insurance in Texas requires drivers to have:

  • A minimum of $30,000 of coverage for injuries
  • Up to $60,000 coverage per accident
  • $25,000 coverage for property damage.

However, drivers can opt to carry more liability insurance to offer more protection in the event of a severe accident. This prevents drivers from having to pay out of their own pocket when they cause an accident.

Filing a claim with the other party’s insurer can take longer, as they first need to determine who is liable. Very rarely will the driver responsible for your accident openly admit it, which means you will need additional evidence to prove it. This can come in the form of the crash report filed by police and the results of the investigation into what caused your car accident.

The benefit of claiming via the other party’s insurance is you will not have to worry about your deductible.

Once the insurer has determined how much it will cost to get your car repaired after your accident, you may want to take the quote to your chosen auto shop — if you decide against going with the one suggested to you — and ask if they can make the repairs for that amount.

If the estimate is too low, they may agree to speak to the insurance adjuster directly. You can also dispute the figure with the insurance company with the help of a car accident lawyer.

What to Do If Your Car Is Totaled

Sadly, the damage to your car may be so severe that the cost of getting it repaired is more than what your car is worth.

This is especially likely to be the case if you have an older car and sustain significant damage beyond the cosmetic.

In this case, insurers may declare a car a total loss. The Texas Transportation Code has this statute to protect people when they purchase a vehicle, so they are aware if it has previously been damaged.

Unfortunately, insurers may use this to their advantage, even if your car can be repaired.

For example, if your car is worth $6,000, and you’re in a car accident that causes damage worth $10,000, an insurer will likely deem your car a total loss — after all, they won’t want to pay $10,000 when they can pay the pre-market value and save money.

This leaves you with a choice — you can take the offer and use that cash to buy yourself a new car or hang onto a car that’s currently undrivable but could reach more once fully repaired.

Insurers often do this — take possession of a car and sell it on for a profit, only for the buyer to repair the car and sell it for even more.

However, you do have a third option: hire a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio to file a personal injury claim.

Filing a Car Accident Claim with a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you’re entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault party. You already know you can retrieve the costs of getting your car repaired, but a personal injury claim can also help you recover:

  • Costs for medical expenses, including initial treatment, tests, appointments, emergency room fees, surgeries, physical therapy, and transport to and from the hospital
  • Your lost wages if you’re unable to work
  • Damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and the overall impact of your injuries on your life.

You may also be able to file a personal injury claim if the accident was partly your fault. 

Texas has what is called moderate comparative negligence laws, which means that as long as you were not more than 50% responsible for your accident, you can still claim compensation. The settlement you’ll receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

As a result, a car accident settlement can be sizable. If you’re wondering how much you could be entitled to, you can use our personal injury calculator or get in touch with our McAllen and San Antonio personal injury lawyers, who can file a claim on your behalf, gather evidence to prove who’s responsible, and negotiate the highest possible settlement.

If your car is classified as a total loss or you disagree with the insurance adjuster’s evaluation of how much it will cost to get your car repaired after your accident, our attorneys can also seek independent valuations to make sure your settlement covers all repairs needed or offers you the right sum for your totaled car.

Our car accident attorneys in San Antonio and McAllen are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve and making the process as easy and stress-free as possible so you can focus on getting better and recovering from your injuries. To book a free, no-obligation case review and see if you have a claim, fill in the contact form or call Law Ninja Dr. Louis Patino and his team at 855-LAW-NINJA today.

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