Answers Provided by a Concerned Car Accident Lawyer
After your car accident lawyer has taken care of the legal nuances of your case, the next action to take is to ensure that your car is still safe to drive. Once the insurance company has paid the costs and the repair is complete, it is time to inspect the vehicle and make sure it is in tip-top condition.
Get the Details from the Car Mechanic
Even if you trust your mechanic, you need to know what parts were damaged, replaced, and repaired. This should give you the confidence that replaced parts will perform at optimum level because they have been replaced. Make sure only brand new parts are used and not second-hand junk. Some important car parts to ask about are the following:
– This is the shaft between the wheels in front and at the back. This is a long piece of hard metal that connects your wheels together and aligns them when you turn. In a collision, this usually gets damaged because of sudden turns. This is also susceptible to rust and becomes weak over time. A collision can aggravate the condition and ultimately break it.
– Cars usually have service brakes and emergency brakes. Ask the mechanic if these brake discs were replaced and in what condition they presently are.
– In a frontal collision, the radiator is likely to get damaged. The radiator acts like your car’s cooling system and prevents the engine from overheating. The radiator, if replaced, must have no leaks.
– Whether you are driving an automatic or manual clutch system, your car has a gearbox. This is the machine that transmits the burned fuel to the wheels. Without a working transmission, your car will not work properly.
Drive the Vehicle in a Safe Location
Before you take the car out on the road again, test drive it in a safe area where there is little to no traffic. Check your brakes. Move the vehicle forward and backward. Listen to the engine and ask yourself if something is wrong. While doing this, listen to the entire car, too. If there is any metal clanging, take it back to your mechanic. Make sure the wheels are tight and that they are aligned. Perform U-turns, two-point turns, and three-point turns. Check if the wheels follow the direction of your steering wheel.
Check All the Safety Features
These features are the reason you survived the crash. Make sure that the mechanic certifies that the airbags are fixed, that they have been reinstalled and are reconfigured to work in the same way as they would if the car were brand new. The sensors on the car’s sides and front must also be checked thoroughly.
Next, check the seat belts. Sit on each seat and put the seatbelt on. Jerk the seatbelts quickly. The seatbelts must lock upon the sudden movement. If they don’t, the seatbelts are no longer functional, and you must ask a technician to repair them. Check the wiper and lights, too. Make sure that they are working, especially the signal lights. Without these, you are putting yourself at risk.
Check for DRP to Ensure Quality Repair
Insurance companies partner with auto body shops to take care of car repairs if their clients get involved in a crash. Your insurance company will recommend these auto body shops after your accident. The big problem here is that the Direct Repair Program (DRP) aims to control costs since the insurance company will pay for these. This puts the mechanic in an awful position because he has to repair your car under a limited budget. This means that the quality of service is likely to be poor.
It is unfortunate that today, auto insurance companies are much more focused on profit and not safety. You are on the losing end of this deal unless you know what to do. As a result, your car will lose its value even if the insurance company claimed that it restored your car to its pre-accident condition.
It is best to speak to the auto-body shop yourself and ask for a proper recommendation, not just what they would recommend to the insurance company for the sake of cost-saving. It is your car and it is your duty to make sure that the repairs are legitimate. If the auto body shop signed a DRP with the insurance company, skip driving the car and ask for another round of repair. Just because a car runs doesn’t mean it is safe.
It is true that insurance companies are not legally liable to pay for damages that exceed your policy. But if you find out that the insurance company is shortchanging you, call your car accident lawyer and take legal action.
Last Updated: 03-24-2017