Collision Center Notes

  • When you're using a body shop to get repairs to your vehicle, be aware that the insurance company can recommend a shop, but you are under no legal obligation to use its services. You have the legal right to choose the shop to do your repairs.

  • Insurance companies sometimes try to dictate what type of parts are used in a vehicle's repair. They might insist that a shop not use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as they are more expensive. 

  • You have a right to know what kind of parts are being used on your vehicle, and to know if your insurance policy dictates what kind of parts can be used in your car. If your policy lets you choose, you have the right to decide for yourself.

  • An insurance company also has the right to inspect your vehicle, but it is not required to do so. In addition, they cannot require you to visit one of their own claim centers.

Help! I've been in an accident. What do I do? Helpful Hints

1. STOP & STAY CALM. Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even if it's minor.


2. CALL THE POLICE. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the police. You may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle. The vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they interfere with traffic or safety.


3. MAKE AN ACCURATE RECORD. When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. You should also make sure statements made by other persons involved in the accident are accurate as well. Witnesses should also be on record.


4. TAKE PICTURES. You should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. However, you should in no way interfere with the on-going police investigation. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.


5. EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Typically, the investigating police officer obtains this information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future. If police respond to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the police report. If the accident occurs on a state highway, you must request the report from the state police.


6. REPORT THE ACCIDENT. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage. Medpay benefits are available to all the occupants of the vehicle.


7. SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Often, injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. Most of our clients report feeling the most pain a day or two following an automobile accident. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing your family physician. Even in accidents involving minor impact, you can sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord. If you lost consciousness or were dazed for even a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion or closed head injury. This can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if left untreated.


8. KEEP A FILE. Keep all your accident-related documents and information together. This information should include a claim number, the claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.


9. PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. After an accident consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement.

Insurance questions

Dealing with the stress of a collision is hard enough without trying to figure out how your accident insurance works... here are some questions to ask your insurance provider

  • Who pays for repairs? 

  • Do I have to accept the insurance company's appraisal of damage? 

  • Do I have the right to a rental car? 

  • Will the insurance company guarantee your work? 

Insurance Questions

Will the insurance company guarantee your work? 

We guarantee our own work, but the insurance company does not have the legal right to guarantee a third party's work. 

Who pays for repairs? 
It depends on the circumstances. If you were at fault, but have comprehensive or collision insurance, the insurance company would pay the costs minus your deductible. If the other party was at fault, their insurance company should pay. 

Do I have to accept the insurance company's appraisal of damage? 
No. Check the "Appraisal Clause" in your policy if you have differences with their appraisal. It allows you and the insurance company to gather an opinion from an appraiser you both agree upon, or a third-party "Umpire" if you cannot agree. 

Do I have the right to a rental car? 
If you have purchased rental car coverage and were not responsible for the accident, you may seek reimbursement from the insurance company or, if another driver was responsible for the accident, their insurance company. 

If you do not have rental car coverage and were responsible for the accident, you have no grounds to ask for reimbursement. If the other driver was liable, you can generally seek reimbursement from their insurance company.