After getting into a collision last month I learned a few things about what I should have done to make my claim with ICBC go smoother than it did. To give you some context I was driving on highway one when a woman drove into my lane and hit my passenger door. I called the police, made a statement, exchanged contact information with the other driver and made my claim with ICBC.
When my adjuster from ICBC called a few days later I explained what had happened and apparently the other driver was claiming that I came into her lane and hit her. Yep. LIARS ARE OUT THERE PEOPLE. It sucks. The claim was settled and it was split 50/50 since there was so no proof who was actually at fault. This means that I had to pay half my deductible to get my car fixed and and my insurance is going to go up for the next 3 years. Pretty shitty considering I didn't do anything wrong, but I've definitely learned from this experience. Here's what I would have done in this order:
1: GET A WITNESS
I was so in shock from what had happened that my only concern was to get off the highway to get out of people's way. Provided that nobody is hurt and you can get out of your car I would go get witness contact info right away before people drive off. If a witness came forward I would have been off the hook. It was rush hour and not a single person stopped to give their info, let alone see if we were okay (Wahhhhh).
If you get too distracted to get a witness because you're in shock like I was there are still several ways to attempt to find those people who may have seen the accident.
- Make a post for Facebook with details of your crash and ask friends to share. Here's mine
- Post on Twitter & Instagram (make sure you hashtag the city it happened in and surrounding cities)
- Make a Facebook Ad an target it to the areas where the traffic could have been coming from. In my case I targeted to Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Pitt Meadows
- Post to popular community Facebook pages like blogs or radio stations
- Post in the community section of craigslist
- Call the traffic AM station and ask if there's a way to get footage form the highway cams
- Make signs for a the first few highway exits after where the crash happened
- Call the police officer who came to the scene to hear the other person's statement, if you're lucky they told the truth at the scene and then changed their story for the ICBC claim
- Some vehicles (I know prius's have this) will record the movement and direction of the wheels and speed into a device in the car, but only if the airbags are deployed. I'm not sure how to obtain this information but I assume if you took the car in the mechanics they could figure it out.
2: TAKE PICTURES BEFORE YOU MOVE THE CARS OFF THE ROAD
After you get witness info take pictures of how the cars are positioned after the crash. Since I was in panic mode and drove my car to the shoulder of the highway I didn't get pictures of both our cars. I did however manage to get a photo of the other woman's car on the highway because she didn't move it until the police and firetrucks came. In the photo you can see her car is fully in the lane that I was in. She came into that lane and pushed me into the fast lane. Not sure where else my car would be if I hit her but this photo wasn't enough proof for ICBC.
Also note that taking pictures of the damage of your car after isn't enough proof either.
3: CALL THE POLICE
Now that you have all the time sensative issues dealt with, call the police. After you get off the phone with the police this is a good opportunity to let your family know about your situation while waiting for the police to come. I also told a friend at work so they knew where I was. Great opportunity to have a good cry at this point too, lol. LET IT OUT!!
4. GO HOME, REST & MAKE YOUR ICBC CLAIM
You're going to be shaken up and it won't lead to a very productive day at the office. Go home, rest and make your claim online. Resting is so important especially if you suspect head/back/neck injuries to follow from the crash. If you tell ICBC you have a neck injury they're going to ask what you did following the accident and pretty much anything you tell that that isn't "resting" they will probably use against you. ICBC may seem nice on the phone but their goal is to pay out as little as possible so just keep this in mind. Lucky for me, I didn't have an injury but do know this from a friend who is going through ICBC hell.
5. BUY A DASHCAM
This could illuminate steps 1, 2, 3 and 4. I'm definitely going to be purchasing a dashcam after this experience and highly recommend forking out the $100-$200 dollars to do so. $150 Dashcam > $1500 worth of deductibles, increased insurance and the head ache of dealing with everything from step 1.
Obviously I'm not a police officer or ICBC worker so you can take this advice as you please. :)