A vehicle accident can be nerve-rattling and life-altering, especially if the circumstances leading up to the crash were completely out of your control. There are five ways you can take back control after a wreck. Follow the tips below to get started.
After an accident, your first thoughts may be focused on how to have your vehicle repaired as fast as possible, even if you’ve been injured yourself. Whether you have a job, kids, or a health condition requiring routine doctors’ visits, you need your car or truck.
It’s understandable to want to have your vehicle returned to you quickly, but nearly every accident can become a potential legal issue. After you attend to the medical needs of everyone at the crash scene, including yourself, you should gather as much evidence as you can about the crash.
If you don’t have paper and pen on hand, use your phone to document the situation with a video of yourself describing the scene or send texts with the info to a trustworthy loved one.
Include the following information:
- The time, date, and location
- The weather and road conditions
- Traffic conditions
- Direction of travel of involved vehicles
- Your approximate rate of speed
- License plates of all vehicles
- Contact information for other drivers and passengers
- Insurance information of involved drivers
- Names of and contact information for witnesses
Use your phone or a camera to take pictures and/or video of the damaged vehicles if it is safe to do so. Take pictures of the crash scene from all angles to show the complete picture of the location and the aftermath of the accident.
If you were too injured or shaken to gather evidence, return to the scene as soon as possible to take pictures of the area. Ask your collision repair specialists to take pictures of all car damage for you. Seemingly insignificant details like paint scrapes or dents from another car can help you win a settlement or avoid a driving violation on your record.
Have Your Car Scanned
New auto scanning methods can detect problems you can’t see just by looking at a wrecked car. Vital structural components, performance systems, or safety elements may have been damaged in the crash, compromising the integrity of your vehicle.
Reputable body shops are happy to scan your car before and after your collision repair to ensure your vehicle is safe and reliable. Many shops do scans on all crashed cars as a matter of course.
Ask for copies of the scans to add to any legal filings or insurance claims related to the wreck. First, check to see if your insurance company requested that this information be sent to them directly from the body shop in order to process your claim.
Make Improvements to Your Vehicle
Sometimes, you don’t want your car to be “as good as it was before the wreck.” You want it to be better. Don’t be shy. Let your collision repair pros know what you’re thinking.
Modern body shops deal with all sorts of glitches and weaknesses in car bodies of all sorts. The techs know how to upgrade your car’s body with new replacement parts that are better than the original factory parts.
For example, if you have a Camaro manufactured between 1978 and 1981, the front and rear bumper surfaces made of urethane just don’t hold up to wear and tear. Now, your body shop can order fiberglass front and rear bumpers that are solid and sturdy, making your Camaro look great and ensuring it can withstand dings far better than before.
If you want a new paint job, spoiler or other upgrade, ask the techs about it. Your insurance may not cover “extras” or cosmetic upgrades. However, if you’ve always wanted some racing stripes or chrome, it makes sense to have the work done during the collision repair phase.
Understand Your Car Type
Cars come in a variety of construction and material types. Steel, aluminum, fiberglass, and plastic are the main materials used in car body design.
Each of these materials requires skill and training to make repairs and replace car body components. Some of the materials are easier to replace than others.
If your car is made of aluminum, there may be a higher charge to replace body panels. Aluminum doesn’t take to welding as steel does, and there are additional limitations in the way it is applied and bolted to vehicles.
Car manufacturers are developing ways for collision shops to more easily replace non-steel car components. Until car makers have perfected the aluminum and other repair processes—and have taught the methods to most body shop techs—expect a pricier repair build when you crash a newer model vehicle.
Choose a Certified Repair Shop
Check the credentials of any repair shop from which you receive estimates. The cheapest quote isn’t always the best deal.
Look for certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). To qualify for this seal on their businesses, body shop owners must employ techs with proven experience and skills in automotive repair.
I-CAR certification goes beyond these credentials to require ongoing training for techs on the latest vehicle repair methods. Look for I-CAR Gold Class certification if you want repairs made in a state-of-the-art shop. Businesses with this designation must stay on the cutting edge of new auto body materials and collision repair technology.
Contact Central Body Company, Inc. today to get your collision repair started. Our techs are ASE certified and recognized as Gold Class Professionals by I-CAR. We have the skills and tools to get you back on the road and feeling in control again.