Getting into a car accident with any vehicle is stressful, and in some cases, traumatic. If you’re driving a luxury vehicle when it happens, it can be even more so. Fortunately, most luxury vehicles are rated high in terms of safety, so you’ll generally be better protected than you would in a lower cost vehicle. However, you’ll also be dealing with more complex insurance considerations, and higher overall costs.
How you manage the accident after it happens can make a major difference in your ultimate results.
In the Wake of the Accident
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, there are a few strategies you’ll need to use to stay safe and maximize your chances of reasonable compensation:
- Remain calm. Your first responsibility is to remain calm. If you take much pride in your vehicle and you know it’s heavily damaged, possibly beyond repair, you’ll probably be angry and frustrated, and you won’t be thinking clearly. This effect is exacerbated if you or someone you love appears to have been injured. However, staying calm will allow you to think rationally, and handle the situation as responsibly as possible.
- Get to safety. Next, you’ll need to get to safety as soon as possible. If your car is drivable, get it to the side of the road. If not, depending on the situation, it may be safer for you to stay in your vehicle or exit the vehicle and get off the road.
- Contact emergency services. Depending on the situation, it’s probably a good idea to contact emergency services. This will be necessary to get medical help for anyone who needs it, as well as clear the scene of debris that could jeopardize the safety of other drivers.
- File a police report. In almost all situations, it’s a good idea to file a police report, even if the other driver clearly admits fault and seems willing to take responsibility for the accident. The police report will serve as official documentation of how the accident went down. Police reports are much harder to contradict than witness statements.
- Collect evidence (and talk to witnesses). Next, try to collect any and all evidence you can, and protect that evidence. If you have a dash cam, collect the footage and provide it to law enforcement if requested. Take photos and videos of the damage (including any damage to the surrounding areas), and from multiple angles. Of course, you’ll also have to collect the personal information of other drivers and vehicles involved in the crash. It may also be worth your while to talk to any witnesses you find in the area, to see if they can corroborate your story.
In the Days Following the Accident
In the days that follow the accident, you’ll need to take a few additional steps:
- Talk to a lawyer. Even if things seem simple on the surface, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer proactively. Insurance companies are notorious for underpaying people and trying to decrease complexities and payouts, but a lawyer can go to bat for you and make sure you get paid what you deserve. This is especially important if you were personally injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, since you may deserve additional compensation.
- Get medical attention (if necessary). If you weren’t seriously injured in the accident, you may forgo the option of going to the hospital. However, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention even if you only have a few bumps and bruises. Car accidents sometimes cause damages that don’t cause pain or noticeable symptoms for weeks; going to a doctor early can alert you to these damages and get an official record established.
- Prepare to account for damages. Shop around to see what the total damages to your vehicle are. Depending on the insurance company, you may have a limited range of options, or they may offer you an initial payout based on what they expect the damages to cost. This can be tricky to manage in a way that pays for all your damages in full.
- Take care of your mental health. Finally, recognize that being in a car accident can be harmful to your mental and emotional health. Take your time during the recovery.
Getting involved in a collision with your luxury vehicle isn’t pleasant, but if you handle it appropriately, you should stand a good chance of getting adequately compensated—and minimizing your stress throughout the process. Obviously, even highly rated vehicles in terms of safety can’t fully protect you in the event of an accident, so make sure you always follow the rules of the road, and drive with extra caution to reduce the risk of an accident.