How to Get Your Car Fixed After an Accident in Vancouver
There are 3.6 million licensed drivers in British Columbia. Most of them rely on their vehicles to get around town every day. But if you’re involved in a serious car accident, your access to transportation could suddenly vanish. You need to know how to get your car fixed.
The car accident lawyers in Vancouver at Warnett Hallen LLP can help you understand the process of filing a claim to receive compensation for injuries and other losses stemming from your crash, including vehicle repairs or replacements.
Reporting the crash to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is required in order to initiate the claims process. But the path to a fair settlement is often a complicated one, so it’s best to prepare by talking with an experienced lawyer who can pursue maximum results for you.
That’s where our law firm comes in. For more than a decade, the personal injury lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP have helped people throughout B.C. secure the compensation they need after an auto accident. If you’ve been hurt, call our office — or contact us today for a free consultation.
What to Do with My Car After an Accident
In the moments after a car wreck, the most important thing you can do is move your vehicle to a safe location without actually leaving the scene of the accident. This will help ensure that no further harm will come to you or your passengers while you check for damages and gather information.
Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the accident scene. These will be useful to submit to ICBC when the claims process begins.
The next step is to schedule a damage estimate. A damage estimate will tell you how much it should cost to have your repairs done and must be completed at an ICBC Collision Repair Network facility or claim centre. When you file a claim with ICBC, you will be provided with a list of approved damage estimate facilities. After you select a repair shop, you can drive your vehicle to the shop’s garage or coordinate with an ICBC tow company to have it moved.
Once at the shop, an estimator will write up the cost of the repairs, which will be done according to the estimate. In some cases, you may be eligible to bring your vehicle to a c.a.r. shop VALET facility, where damage estimates and car repairs can be completed at the same location.
If you were unable to drive your car away after the accident, ICBC likely had it towed to one of its centralized storage lots. In this case, ICBC will arrange to have it sent directly to a central estimating facility or claim centre for you.
If ICBC determines that your car is too damaged to bother with the cost of repairs, they may designate your vehicle as a “write off.” If this happens, you may be eligible to receive compensation equal to ICBC’s fair market valuation of your vehicle.
You have two years from the date of the accident to complete the vehicle repairs.
What to Say to ICBC About Your Car Damage
All drivers in British Columbia are required to carry Basic Autoplan insurance coverage through ICBC. While you can purchase optional collision insurance specifically to pay for vehicle damages, most default plans only pay for your car repairs if another driver was at fault. This is one of the reasons it’s so critical to watch what you say to ICBC about your car accident. While ICBC is a crown corporation, it’s also in the insurance business, and its main goal is to make a profit. ICBC adjusters may try to undervalue your claim to cut costs, which could leave you in a bind.
Make sure that you report your crash to ICBC within 30 days and submit any required documentation as requested. During your initial crash report, you’ll be asked for basic information about your accident, such as vehicle descriptions, road conditions, and contact and insurance details for other drivers. Make sure your answers are honest, but stick to the point and avoid mentioning anything that could be used against you later. ICBC will be looking for ways to quickly settle or deny claims, so if you apologize for the crash or downplay your damages, they will certainly take your word for it.
What Happens While My Car Is Getting Fixed?
Depending on the severity of the damage to your vehicle, how long it took to file your claim, and how long you waited to schedule repairs, the amount of time it takes to fix your vehicle can vary widely. Owners of vehicles that are old, imported, or rare may experience additional delays if locating the appropriate parts becomes an issue. If your car will be unavailable for several days, you may need to consider alternative methods of transportation.
Some insurance or roadside assistance policies may offer rental coverage, and some repair shops or dealerships can provide loaner cars for short periods. If neither of these is an option, you may also consider public transportation, ride-sharing apps, taxis, or carpooling with friends.
If it seems like your repairs are taking longer than they should, it may be a good idea to check in with ICBC and the repair shop. Sometimes things can get held up by administrative red tape and you therefore may need to provide documentation to one or both parties to ensure everything goes smoothly.
What If My Car Is Beyond Repair After an Accident?
If your car sustains serious damage after an accident, it may not make financial sense to sink money into costly repairs. During your damage assessment, estimators will look at the total amount it would take to fix your vehicle and compare it to the estimated value of your car at the time of your accident. If the cost of repairs is greater than the value of your vehicle, ICBC usually refers to the situation as a “write off” or “total loss,” and will simply pay you for the fair market value of your car.
To determine your car’s fair market value, ICBC will consider the following factors:
- The year, make, and model of your car
- Any customized options present in your car
- Your vehicle’s total mileage
- The general pre-crash condition of your car
- Current asking prices for similar vehicles
If you accept ICBC’s offer, they will ask you to sign a write-off agreement and then sell your vehicle for parts. The amount of money ICBC makes from salvaging your car does not affect the vehicle’s fair market value or the compensation you are eligible to receive. If you feel that ICBC has undervalued your car, you may consider gathering and presenting evidence such as valuation estimates from other online sales or auto magazines.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Vancouver Help Me?
If your head is spinning about how to initiate the ICBC claims process after an injury, you aren’t alone. The effects of any accident are stressful, but they become easier to manage with the assistance of a dedicated Vancouver car accident lawyer. Some of the ways a lawyer can help you receive the compensation you need after being injured include:
- Helping you review your accident and understand your legal options
- Identifying and collecting any evidence that could support your claim
- Preparing an accurate estimate of your car’s value and cost of damages
- Communicating with ICBC claims adjusters and other parties on your behalf
- Negotiating with ICBC for a reasonable settlement amount in your case
- Preparing appeals or taking your case to trial, if needed, to reach a fair outcome
How an Experienced Lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP Can Help
A fair settlement after a car accident takes all of your losses into account, and vehicle damage is a big one. If you’ve received a lowball settlement offer, a car accident lawyer in Vancouver from Warnett Hallen LLP can step in to help resolve the dispute. Our firm is dedicated to making sure you never settle for less than what you deserve.
Questions? Please call or contact us today for a free case review.