One of the main risks of driving is that you can end up involved in a car accident through no fault of your own. Thankfully, a minor car accident or so-called “fender benders” are the most common types of accidents. Usually, these involve a busted headlight, a damaged tire, a dent on any part of your vehicle, and, in some cases, minor damage to your windshield. These events don’t have a large effect on your ability to drive your car and they usually cause minor injuries. But what should you do if you find yourself in this situation?
What to Do Right After the Car Accident
There is a series of steps you should cover when you are involved in a car accident, even if it’s a minor one.
Make Sure No One is Injured
This is one of the most important things to do. Check if you or any of your passengers are injured. In some cases, you might suspect someone has an injury even if there’s no blood or visible lesion. Call the ambulance immediately if this is the case. Afterward, if there was another vehicle involved, you can check if the people in that car are ok.
Being in an accident is a stressful and shocking situation. However, you will want to remain as calm as possible. Try to not show any anger towards the other driver or get aggressive with them as this can only cause more trouble for you. At the same time, don’t apologize for being part of the accident.
Check Your Vehicle
You can check your ride to see where the damage is. While you do this, make sure there are no weird smells, like gasoline, and that there are no sparks or fire. If any of these things are present you should stay as far away from the vehicle as possible.
Document the Accident
Thankfully, almost everyone has a phone with a camera these days. You can document the accident by taking photos of the position in which the vehicles are. Make sure you also take a photo of the license plate of the other person involved.
Avoid Becoming a Traffic Obstacle
You can create a major traffic jam if you stay in the middle of the road. Plus, you might be in danger as vehicles rush around you. It’s best to park the vehicle on the right side of the road while you and the other driver talk and exchange information.
Exchange Contact Information
This is extremely important. You should exchange all the information possible with the other person involved in the accident, from phone numbers to insurance policies. If possible, take a photo of the other driver’s insurance card. This will allow you to check the veracity of the information and you’ll be less likely to lose their details. If there were any witnesses, you should get a phone number or way to contact them as well.
If you or the other driver called the police, they might take a while to get there considering it’s not a major accident. However, you need to be patient and wait for their arrival. If you fail to do so, you might get in trouble with the law because it will be interpreted as if you ran away from the scene. This is a criminal offense.
Minor Car Accident FAQs
Do you have to call the police after a minor car accident?
The straightforward answer is yes, call the police. This is the right thing to do because there will be a report you can refer to if you need to in the future. In addition, filing the report immediately will allow for better accuracy regarding the details of the accident. Also, the majority of states make this mandatory when someone has been injured. Plus, you want to make sure the story that gets reported is true to the facts.
What is the average settlement for a minor car accident?
It’s going to depend on injuries and damages to the vehicle. When it comes to injuries, the amount can range from $10,000 to $25,000 in the case of whiplash or minor injuries that have no further complications. However, if surgery or physical therapy is needed for a full recovery, then the total amount can be as high as $75,000.
Should I tell my insurance company about a minor accident?
Yes, you should always call your insurance provider, even if you were not the one responsible for the accident. This is especially important if there has been material damage or if anyone was injured.
Should I hire a lawyer for a minor car accident?
It’s all about how much time and energy you want to invest in this issue. Dealing with the details of a minor car accident settlement can be extremely exhausting. Therefore, it’s better to hire an expert car accident attorney that knows exactly what needs to be done and how to get it done. Hiring a lawyer to help you with this issue can be a great way to manage the legal implications of the accident. Being in a minor car accident is a stressful event but having the tools to take the most appropriate actions and knowing what to do in this situation is instrumental to properly address the issue. Prioritize your safety and that of any passengers in your car and make sure you have all the contact information from the other driver. That way you or your lawyer will be able to deal with any additional negotiations and compensation later on.