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Can I Choose My Own Mechanic After a Florida Accident?

October 21, 2023 Legal Team

Getting into a car accident is undoubtedly a stressful experience, and the aftermath can be equally daunting. One of the many concerns that arise after a collision is the repair of your damaged vehicle. In Florida, as in many other states, you have the option to choose your own mechanic to fix your car. However, understanding the proper procedure for getting your vehicle repaired can help streamline the process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Step 1: Ensure Your Safety

Before worrying about repairing your vehicle, the first and foremost concern should be your safety. Make sure everyone involved in the accident is safe and seek medical attention if necessary. Once you have ensured your safety and the safety of others, you can begin the process of repairing your vehicle.

Step 2: Notify Your Insurance Company

Regardless of whether you were at fault in the accident or not, you should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance policies require you to report an accident within a specified timeframe, often within 24 to 72 hours. Failure to report the accident promptly could result in delays or even a denial of your claim.

When you contact your insurance company, provide them with all the necessary information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and the other driver’s information. Be truthful and accurate in your statements to ensure a smooth claims process.

Step 3: Obtain a Damage Estimate

To determine the extent of the damage to your vehicle, you will need to obtain a damage estimate. This can be done by visiting a reputable auto body shop or mechanic of your choice. It’s essential to choose a qualified professional who can assess the damage accurately and provide you with a detailed estimate for the repairs.

Step 4: Communicate with Your Insurance Adjuster

After obtaining the damage estimate, you should communicate with your insurance adjuster and provide them with the estimate and any other relevant information. Your adjuster will review the estimate and determine whether it is in line with their assessment of the damage. In some cases, they may want to inspect the vehicle themselves or request additional documentation.

Step 5: Choose a Repair Shop

While you have the right to choose your own repair shop, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Some insurance companies have a list of preferred or approved repair shops that they recommend. Choosing one of these shops can sometimes expedite the process, as the insurance company may have established relationships with these businesses. Use a repair shop with trustworthy reviews.

However, it’s important to note that you are not obligated to use one of the insurance company’s recommended shops. You have the right to select a repair shop that you trust and are comfortable with. If you choose your own mechanic, make sure to inform your insurance company of your decision and provide them with the shop’s contact information.

Step 6: Authorize Repairs

Once you’ve selected a repair shop and obtained the necessary approvals from your insurance company, it’s time to authorize the repairs. Make sure you understand the repair process, the estimated timeline, and the cost. If there are any changes or additional repairs required as the work progresses, communicate promptly with both the repair shop and your insurance company to avoid any surprises.

Step 7: Review the Repairs

After the repairs are complete, take the time to thoroughly inspect your vehicle. Ensure that all the work has been done to your satisfaction, and that the vehicle is in safe and drivable condition. If you encounter any issues or are dissatisfied with the quality of the repairs, address them with the repair shop and your insurance company.

Choosing Your Own Mechanic

In conclusion, after a car accident in Florida, you have the freedom to choose your own mechanic to repair your vehicle. While working with an insurance-approved shop can sometimes simplify the process, it’s ultimately your decision. The key to a successful and efficient repair process is prompt reporting to your insurance company, obtaining accurate damage estimates, and open communication with all parties involved. By following these steps, you can navigate the post-accident repair process in Florida with confidence and get back on the road as soon as possible. At Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann, our personal injury attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton can walk you through this process during your personal injury claim.