Ask the Attorney Column - June 2015 (I was involved in a car accident that was not my fault. Am I allowed to choose the body shop to perform the repairs or does the other driver’s insurance company get to choose?)

30-Aug-2015

The following article appeared in the June 2015 issue of the Community Chronicle Newspaper as part of a monthly column titled "Ask the Attorney" authored by Donnie O'Pry of the O'Pry Law Firm.

I was involved in a car accident that was not my fault. Am I allowed to choose the body shop to perform the repairs or does the other driver’s insurance company get to choose?

I am sorry to hear that you were involved in an automobile accident. However, it is great that you are asking the right questions and making sure that you are informed of your rights. Automobile accidents affect everyone differently, so educating yourself on the insurance company’s responsibilities and being familiar with the repair process can help ease the strain on you and your family.

You absolutely have the right to choose the body shop where you want the repairs made. Often the insurance company will have a list of their preferred vendors that they recommend. However, there is no requirement under Louisiana law that you have to use the insurance company’s recommended body shop.

The decision where to have the repairs made can be an important one, especially if you have a newer model car that is still under warranty. You may be required to have the repairs made at an authorized dealer so as not to vitiate your warranty. Additionally, if you have a newer model vehicle, you may also be entitled to a cash payment from the insurance company for diminution of the vehicle’s value. This is due to the fact that in many instances your vehicle will be worth less than it was before the accident simply because it was involved in a crash. In fact, some dealerships will not even purchase used vehicles that have been involved in an accident in which the airbag deployed. This is due to the fact that having the airbag deployed is a red flag that the vehicle was involved in a significant accident.

Donnie O’Pry is the Managing Partner of the O’Pry Law Firm, a litigation firm specializing in representing accident and injury victims. Please email your questions to Donnie@oprylaw.com.