Monthly Archives: January 2017

Repair Your Car After a Accident

You just received a check from you auto insurance company to repair minor damages to your car from a recent accident. You’re OK driving a banged up car and would rather spend the money elsewhere.

What are your options?

Several factors come into play, such as who owns the car, your insurer and the state where you you live. Cashing the check without regard to these can land you in trouble later on.


Leasing or still paying on your car limits options

Unless you own your vehicle outright there is little choice. If a leasing company or bank still holds title to the car the insurance company will either pay the repair shop directly or write the check to both you and the lien holder.

If the check is made out to both you and the lienholder you will need to get a co-signature on the check from your bank or leasing company. In the case of a leasing company you will often have to mail the check to an out of state office.

Once you have the co-signature you will need to pay the repair shop. According to experts, if the check is made out to both of you, keeping the money is not a possibility.

The lender or leasing company will want the vehicle fixed because they own it and they will want to protect their investment. All of this adds up to getting the car fixed, even if the check is made out to only you.

Cashing the check and spending the money amounts to fraud and it can end badly for you. Your loan or lease documents require you to maintain your vehicle in good working order which means getting it fixed properly if you are in an accident.

Until you make the last payment and the title is yours, the financing company calls the shots in regards to the vehicle. When you try to turn in your leased vehicle it will have to be repaired before they will accept it back so eventually you are going to cover the cost of repairs either way.


Owning you car gives greater flexibility

If you already own the vehicle and are carrying collision insurance you may be able to get paid out and keep the cash. On the other hand, your insurer might just pay the body shop instead of you.

There may be a clause in your insurance policy that requires the check to go to the repair shop to ensure the vehicle will be repaired.

The state you live in can also be a factor. Some states have regulations that dictate who gets the check in the event of a claim payout. As an example, in Massachusetts the check is made out to the claimant who then has the right to decide to get the car fixed or keep the money for themselves.

Hire A Lawyer To Fight Traffic Tickets

Knowing when to fight a traffic ticket could end up saving you hundreds of dollars for the offense itself and perhaps even more on your car insurance down the road.

But how do you know when to fight, and if you do fight it, when to hire a lawyer?

The National Motorists Association recommends drivers not facing a DUI, reckless driving or other charge that could carry serious penalties including jail time, to make an appearance in court and do battle.

What about hiring an attorney? Look at the financial bottom line.

ALSO: What Causes the Most Road Rage?

Expect an attorney to charge a flat rate of $250 to $400 for a one-time courtroom appearance to enter a plea and negotiate a reduced penalty. Other courts cost could apply, too. For a lesser ticket with a lesser fine you might not even break even by hiring an attorney.

However, if jail time is even a slight possibility, or your fines reach a thousand dollars or more, then an attorney can be money well spent.

Don’t feel, thought, that every traffic court appearance demands an attorney.


Who should fight a ticket in court?

Some motorists, such as commercial drivers, should fight all traffic tickets because any moving violation can jeopardize their ability to continue working, says Ohio attorney Michael E. Cicero.

Also, your age is a big factor when seeking your day in court.

“If you’re very young or very old, fighting the ticket is absolutely worth it,” Cicero says. “In those demographics, traffic tickets can cause significant jumps in premiums.”

If you do choose to fight a ticket in person you already have one advantage. Crowded courts face hundreds of cases per day and prosecutors are usually willing to negotiate a deal.

Also, you may have a slight advantage in court depending on where you live.

Some states, such as New Jersey, require a witness to testify at a court hearing if a police officer didn’t see it, so if the witness — who is usually the other driver — doesn’t show up in court, the ticket is dismissed.

California lawyer Christopher J. McCann says that one of the first tactics he uses is requiring an officer to respond on paper to a certain deadline, called a “Trial by Declaration.”

“Putting the ball in the court of a busy officer alone gets me many easy victories when they neglect to return the document in a timely fashion,” McCann says. “Even if they do, the officer may not state his case properly, giving you another chance to win.”