In the moments immediately following your accident, the first thing you should do is dial 911 and summon the police and, if necessary, emergency services to the scene of the accident. Let them know you’ve been in a car crash and need assistance.
Once you’ve alerted the authorities, hang tight and wait for them to arrive. Depending on your area, it may take a while for them to arrive, but both you and the other driver should wait and give statements to the officer on duty.
Once they arrive, tell the officer (or officers) exactly what happened leading up to the crash. If you have any injuries or feel any pain, make sure to include that in the statement and to seek medical care; some injuries don’t appear right away or worsen in severity as time passes, so if you feel “off” in any way, make sure to go to the hospital to get checked out.
While waiting for police to arrive, make sure to exchange both contact and insurance information with the driver of the other vehicle involved in the collision. You’ll need this information in order to file an insurance claim.
Grab a pen and paper or start a notes document in your smartphone and then record the other drivers:
If you physically write down the information, also snap a photo on your phone so that if you lose the actual piece of paper, you still have the information you need to file a claim.
You’ll also want to get contact information (Name, address, phone number, and email) for any witnesses that may have seen the crash. Both you and the other driver’s insurance company will want to talk to them in order to corroborate each of your stories and get further details on the crash.
Even if you believe you caused the accident, don’t openly admit to fault – to the other driver OR to the police. The hours immediately following an accident are a challenging time and it can be hard to determine exactly what happened when you’re in such a shaken state. Let the police and insurance companies use their experience, knowledge, and tools draw their own conclusions about the accident; if you admit blame, it can come back to haunt you later with your insurance claim.
If there is visible damage to your vehicle or to your person, make sure to take pictures. Having photographic evidence of damage caused by the accident will help your insurance claim.
After the initial report of the accident, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance company in the days following the accident to find out next steps. Your insurance policy likely requires that you fully cooperate with your insurance company during the claim process, so make sure to give them as accurate and detailed information as possible.
Make sure to send any documentation surrounding your crash, including your police report and any medical records, to your insurance company. You’ll also want to check if your insurance policy covers medical expenses (also known as “med-pay”); if so, you’ll want to find out the process for reimbursement.
If you weren’t at fault in the accident, you will likely also be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. Make sure to get them all the information they need to process the claim quickly and efficiently.
Once you’ve spoken to your claims adjuster and reported your accident, you’ll need to get an estimate on the damage to your vehicle. The insurance company likely has preferred vendors they can put you in touch with who can get assess the damage, give you an estimate on the repairs, and repair your vehicle.
The amount your insurance company will pay for your vehicle depends on a number of factors, including your policy, your deductible, whether you were at fault in the accident and, if so, how much (insurance companies assess fault in an accident on a percentage basis, and you can be anywhere from 0 to 100% at fault in an accident).
If you’re unsure of your coverage and how much you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket, ask your claims adjuster to clarify.
Obviously, you want to be compensated for any damages following an accident. But if your car was damaged, it’s going to lose value – even if it’s impeccably repaired. This is called diminished value.
Well, when you’ve been in an accident, a Carfax report is generated that states your vehicle was involved in an accident. These reports are open and available to the public, and if you decide to sell your car down the road, they’re easily located by potential buyers. This information can make your car a less attractive choice when compared to a similar make and model that has no accidents on record and can significantly drive down the value of your car, forcing you to lower your selling price and lose hundred (or even thousands) of dollars in the process. This gap between how much your car was worth before accident and what it’s worth after the accident (also known as the depreciation value of your car after an accident) is your diminished value.
But as long as you weren’t at fault in the accident, you can regain that loss thanks to a little something called a “diminished value claim.” Filing a diminished value claim will ensure that you recoup the loss of value in your vehicle and are fairly compensated by your insurance company.
Managing a diminished value appraisal and filing a claim can be confusing, and in order to ensure you get the highest settlement possible, you’ll want to work with a reputable company to walk you through the entire process, from getting an estimate to generating the diminished value report necessary to secure your settlement.
(Have questions on how to calculate your diminished value? Ready to get started? Get in touch with Loss Value Recovery Specialists today for your free diminished value claim assessment.)
The days following a car crash can be stressful. But with this checklist, you’ll knock off all the to-do items necessary to get you back on your feet – and back in the driver’s seat – in no time.
January 16, 2018
May 2, 2017