What Can You Expect From Your First Car Accident?
Your first car accident experience is a memorable one, and probably not in the way you’d like it to be. Here’s what to expect:
Police Will Show Up and Take a Report
Whether you’re into cars or not, it’s likely that at some point in your life, you’ve had a first accident experience. No matter how minor the damage may be, a police officer will always show up at the accident scene. This is true in the vast majority of cases. First of all, insurance companies require law enforcement to document all accidents. The accident report is used to determine the severity of the damage and who is at fault, which can directly affect how much someone’s insurance premiums increase or decrease after an accident. Secondly, police officers show up in car accidents for liability reasons.
If a driver was speeding and caused someone else to wreck, they could potentially be held responsible for injuries and other expenses including auto towing. In many cases, it could be argued that the police have a responsibility to show up at every accident scene because they would be liable if drivers or passengers sustained any injuries due to not showing up. In the end, it’s a good idea for drivers to know that in most cases, a police officer will always show up at your first car accident.
The Car Will Suffer Major Damage
You don’t have to be careless or stupid to suffer damage in your first car accident experience. Car accidents happen when law-abiding, careful, smart people are behind the steering wheel of their car. Car accidents may not be intentional, and they may not even happen because you were negligent or made a mistake – but that doesn’t mean that your car might not suffer major damage. If your car was damaged in a car accident, you might be wondering what this means to the value of your car. Is it totaled now? Will the insurance company offer me next to nothing for my car now that there is the damage? Well, not necessarily.
A lot depends on how much damage your car suffered and whether or not it is something that can be repaired. Minor or cosmetic damage, for instance, damage to your power windows may not impact the value much at all. The problem comes when you start having structural problems that require auto body repair– such as a bent frame. If this occurs, you should expect the value of your car to decrease because of the damage and repairs required if you were to repair it yourself or through your insurance company. The more damage the car has, the more it will decrease in value, so you should expect this to impact the overall cost of your claim.
Your Insurance Rates Might Go Up
At the scene of your first car accident experience, you are in a state of shock. You may not have even realized what has happened. Your adrenaline is pumping, and your mind is racing. It all happens very quickly. But when it’s over, there are practical matters to deal with–the most important being your insurance rates. The reality is that your rates will probably go up after an accident, and you need to be prepared for it. Insurance companies have a system of classifying drivers. The most common one is the ‘at-fault’ classification. If you are involved in an accident, no matter who is at fault, your insurance company will add what they call a ‘point’ to your driver record. Depending on how many points they add, it can increase your insurance rates. Although all insurance companies calculate their point system differently, the number of points will probably depend on how much damage was caused relative to your deductible. Regardless, it’s a good idea to ask your agent what amount will lead to an increased rate. You can go a step further and ask if your insurance company raises rates after the first accident. If it does, have any of the best accident lawyers explain what happens when you get two accidents in a period. Not all companies will add points to your record after just one accident. In some cases, they may not add any points or lower them based on the circumstances involved.
A Hefty Repair Bill
The first car accident experience can be an intimidating experience. It’s understandable not to want to deal with the paperwork and expenses that come with it. Unfortunately, if you don’t address them correctly, your car insurance company may refuse to pay for damages. Remember: Your insurance company is there to protect you against financial loss caused by accidents or acts of God. The one thing you should do following any collision is to get as much information as possible about the accident and those involved. The more proof you have of what happened, the better your chances of receiving full compensation for repairs and other associated costs. Then there are the other two key elements of the accident process: documenting and negotiating.
After you file an accident report with your insurance company, consider taking pictures of the damage. If you have a smartphone, use its camera function to take photos of both cars from all angles. By having forensic evidence of the damage before repairs are made, you will have a clearer understanding of the total cost for fixing or replacing your car. Make sure the pictures clearly show vehicle parts and paint damage and that they are dated and time-stamped. Have a witness also take independent photos or videos of the damage from different angles, if possible. If you don’t have a phone with a camera, use a disposable camera to make sure you capture all the necessary evidence.
An Offer for a Rental Car
Today, if you are involved in a first car accident experience, you should expect an offer for a rental car. Many individuals don’t think about this, but it is fairly common. Although some people feel like they are being penalized for causing an accident or being manipulated into accepting a rental car in the form of a roadside assistance service. Many people are surprised to learn that insurance companies are not only allowed to provide individuals with rental cars following their accidents but that it is also considered customary practice.
In some cases, the individual who caused the accident will be required to pay for a rental car if they do not want one provided by the other driver’s insurance company. This may come as a surprise to many, but it is something that happens fairly often. The main reason why rental cars are offered is that they will help promote fair treatment for all parties involved in an accident. It could be expensive and time-consuming if one or both drivers were to take their vehicles into the shop. There also may be damage to the cars that the naked eye cannot see, so it is sometimes better to have a rental car until everything can be sorted out. Rental cars are not only offered after accidents involving two vehicles. If you are involved in an accident with an animal or if your vehicle flips over, you may be provided with a rental car until your vehicle can be repaired.
You Will Panic and Worry
There is no doubt that your first car accident experience will lead you into a state of panic. Almost everyone is a nervous wreck in their first car accident. They worry about the wrong things, make wrong assumptions, and ultimately let their emotions get the best of them. In the first few weeks after a car accident, you’ll likely be easily startled, always on edge, and it’s easy to assume that everyone is out to get you. The truth about car accidents is that they’re normal, expected, and you’ll get through them.
Almost everyone has a first car accident within the first few years of driving. If you haven’t had a crash by your fourth or fifth year of driving, then it’s not likely to happen at all. The only thing you can control when in a car accident is your reaction. You’ll panic and worry about things you have no control over, but the truth is that it’s normal to lose control of your emotions when car accidents happen. It’s usually after an accident that most people realize how little they know about driving. Take this time to learn what you can do in the future, so it doesn’t happen again. Practice being calm and collected after a car accident. This is your chance to learn how you react to an accident and how others act in the same situation.
You’ll Feel Frustrated When You Go to a Repair Shop
Everyone who has ever been in a first car accident experience, either as a driver or passenger, understands the feeling of wanting to fix what is broken right away. No one likes waiting around for something that should be fixed quickly. Perhaps, that’s why customers who have been in accidents tend to expect more from their urgent care centers or auto dealers. accidents are very traumatic experiences. Even if your car isn’t damaged, you may be experiencing several mental and emotional issues. These are just normal reactions to an abnormal event. Along with these emotions, there is often a sense that time is precious after an accident. This feeling can lead many people to experience certain frustrations when dealing with repair shops in the days immediately after an accident.
Getting frustrated is normal. Understand that repair shops can be frustrating, too: they’re living and working in the same world as you and likely sharing many of your frustrations. These businesses often feel like they are under siege with requests from every direction, potential customers calling in, and existing customers wanting to set up appointments or estimate repairs. Many shops need to communicate with insurance companies, so this can take time away from the actual repair work. There is also a significant amount of paperwork that goes into repairing a car. All this means that repair shops have a lot of work to do to keep up with the day-to-day demands of being in business, let alone responding immediately to customers who have been involved in accidents.
You Might Get Ticketed
It can be traumatic to get involved in your first car accident experience, no matter how minor it may seem. However, suppose you are the driver that is deemed responsible for causing or contributing to the accident. In that case, procedural laws require you to exchange information with the other party and file a report with the proper authorities after signing an official statement regarding what happened. Should you fail to do so, you run the risk of getting ticketed and possibly fined. This will likely affect everyone involved, though whether it is serious enough to warrant further consequences can depend on the accident’s severity.
For example, if your first car accident were only a fender bender, there probably wouldn’t be anything more than tattered paint or dented metal; however, if someone sustained injuries (even minor ones) or damages over several hundred dollars, such as when towing services are required (see also here). The repercussions for failing to follow proper procedures could be more severe. Being responsible for a car accident can be a nerve-wracking experience. You will have to deal with the damage at the scene, contact your insurance company and perhaps hire an injury lawyer if negligence is in question. Not to mention you may have been injured during the incident. However, it would be best if you were not so concerned with all of this that you forget to file a report.
You Will Need to Call Someone
After your first car accident experience, whether it’s your fault or not, there is always the urge to call someone you are close to. It’s only natural to need someone by your side, someone to talk it over with. Sometimes they see things in a different light than you. Other times they can provide much-needed comfort. While it is okay to call a loved one after any car accident and even beneficial in some cases, you should be aware that there are legal implications to what you say. If you or your loved ones start talking about money or entitlements right after an accident, the police may become suspicious of your intentions.
While many will tell you not to discuss anything with the other driver or anyone else at the scene, it is not always advisable. To better understand the legal ramification of calling someone after a car accident, you should understand what police are looking for. To get injured parties to admit fault or file claims against the other driver, they will often try and trick them into discussing money matters right at the scene of the accident. This is why you should not speak about such things at all.
When you first buy a car, you don’t expect to be in an accident. However, this is not the case for everyone. For those who are involved in their first car accident experience, it can be one of the most shocking experiences they will ever have. It is important to know what can be expected during this time so that you aren’t completely lost. This article gives you a picture of what to expect from your first accident.