So a careless driver’s crashed into you. You’ve received medical treatment for injuries, filed a police report, contacted your insurance provider — and perhaps even called an attorney to help you navigate the process. You’re already on the road to recovery from this unfortunate incident … except that you still have a damaged vehicle on your hands and no way to get to work.
What can you do to make sure your main mode of transportation gets repaired the best — and most reputable — way possible?
Attorney Humberto Tijerina of Tijerina Legal Group, states that it’s essential to begin making the right decisions regarding your vehicle at the scene of the wreck — starting with the towing.
“The worst thing that you can do is have that vehicle towed to a towing company or to a pound,” he said. “That’s what those companies want.” Tijerina explains that these kinds of companies not only charge a towing fee, but also are able to charge a fee for every day that they are able to keep a damaged vehicle at their storage facility. Those kinds of charges can add up quickly for the unaware.
“The problem is, the longer the car stays at the storage facility, the larger the client’s bill is going to be,” he said. “And if there’s no insurance on the other side, this pound is not going to care and will use every tool they have to get their money.”
In fact, after 30 days of keeping the vehicle — and after sending proper notification — without the owner being able to claim it, the towing company can consider the vehicle “abandoned.” Once a vehicle qualifies as “abandoned,” the company may then legally sell the vehicle through a public sale.
“A lot of people don’t have the money to get their car out,” Tijerina said. “We’ve had to help clients routinely to get that car out of the pound right away.”
So what alternatives do you have when towing your car away from the scene of the accident?
“If you can and if it’s safe, have that car towed to your house,” Tijerina said. If you have full coverage insurance on your vehicle and want to have it worked on right away, have it towed to the dealership. For example: “If it’s a Ford, or it’s a Chevy, have it towed to the [dealership]. Call ahead. ‘Hey, can I have a vehicle towed there for evaluation?’”
The service team at the dealerships are usually the best-equipped experts to know exactly what is wrong with your car — and what it will take to fix it. This is all important information that insurance companies need to know so that you can get the funds to repair your vehicle.
Getting your vehicle towed to any repair shop with a stellar reputation is a good plan after being involved in a wreck. Where you need to be careful is if the shop has poor reviews and no real clout to back up repair claims.
“The insurance company’s going to say, ‘we don’t know who these guys are. We’re not going to pay you what they’re offering you,’” Tijerina warned. “That’s why it’s important to go to a reputable shop.” As part of its service, Tijerina Legal Group provides clients with a list of recommended repair shops that the firm has worked with in the past.
In the next issue of RGVision, Humberto Tijerina examines the different types of injuries — seen and unseen — that Tijerina Legal Group can help clients heal from.