What Happens to the Vehicles After a Car Accident?


After experiencing a car accident, much of the attention is on the driver, the passengers, and all the human lives involved in the accident (and rightly so!). However, not much attention goes towards the car itself. For most of us, our cars are our pride and joy; they see us through good times and bad and are always there when we need them, so what happens after an accident?

Extent of the Car Accident

First and foremost, what happens to your vehicle will depend on the extent of the accident (as well as the condition of the driver). If it was only a light collision and most of the damage is superficial, you might be able to swap insurance details and then continue on your way. However, not everybody involved in a car accident is so lucky.

For more serious accidents, let’s say you’re taken to hospital for medical attention, the emergency services will need to clear the road. If the car is in a bad way, it will likely go to an impound lot. At this point, we should note that this isn’t to punish you in any way, it’s just to keep other road users safe and store the car away until the case has been resolved.

Alternatively, it may be taken to a storage lot. If so, regardless of liability, you should be looking to move your car as soon as possible. The longer your car remains in the lot, the higher the fees become. Also, you’ll need to pay the fees early to prevent losing possession of the vehicle.

Of course, you won’t need to pay these fees if you weren’t responsible for the accident and if you have a good personal injury lawyer working on your behalf.

Repairing Your Vehicle

After teaming up with a car accident lawyer, they’ll work hard to get the case progressing as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to fix the car. If the total damage amounts to $1,800 but the work required is mostly cosmetic, there could be an opportunity to take the money without getting the repairs.

In terms of the repairs themselves, most states will prevent insurance companies from forcing individuals towards specific repairs shops and this is important to remember. You’re actually allowed to choose whichever repair shop you desire, but there are certain advantages to getting your car repaired in the shop the insurance company recommends. This includes:

  • Paperwork – When a repair shop has been approved by the insurer, this means their workmanship has already been guaranteed. Ultimately, you’ll have protection later down the line if problems return. If you choose your own shop and then problems occur, these issues will be your own responsibility.
  • Save Time, Money, and Hassle – Furthermore, you don’t need to waste time searching for a reliable shop and researching to see whether they have good reviews and will deal with your car in the right way. Also, there’s no waiting for estimates or inspections. Since your insurance company is already happy to work with the shop, the process is much smoother.
  • Rental Car Replacement – Depending on the policy that you have with the insurer, you may also be offered a replacement car while your own vehicle is repaired. With rental car coverage, you’ll have transport even if the repairs take longer than planned. Of course, this is policy-dependent so not everyone will have this luxury.
  • Discounts? – With some car insurers, they reduce your deductible when working with a recommended auto repair shop. For example, after using a shop in The Hartford’s CRSP, policyholders get a discount of $100.

Written-Off Vehicles

As a general rule, those with drivable cars should contact an attorney who will communicate with the insurance company of the guilty party. Whenever the car isn’t drivable, an adjuster will assess the damage of the car before then offering a check (remember to move the car from the storage lot). But what if the car is ‘totaled’ or is considered a ‘write off’?

Essentially, this means that the cost of repairs exceeds the overall value of the car.  The insurance company will consider two figures;

  • The amount for which your car would have sold before damage
  • The cost of repairing the vehicle

In most cases, you’ll be paid the lower of these two amounts. If you reject the salvage value, you’ll be able to keep your vehicle; otherwise, it will be signed over to the insurance company.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today

No matter how light or serious the damage, an accident is an accident. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you, contact a car accident lawyer to get compensation for damages, lost wages, and more!