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What to Do After a Minor Car Accident?

Have you been in a minor car accident? It’s a stressful experience, even if there are no serious injuries. But it’s important to know what to do in the immediate aftermath to ensure that the situation is handled smoothly. 

By taking a few simple steps, such as moving to a safe spot, checking for injuries, and exchanging information with the other driver, you can minimize stress and make the best decisions at the moment. And if you’re unsure about what to do, reach out to Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, car accident lawyer at 917-540-8728 TOLL-FREE for case review and legal guidance. We can protect your legal rights and recover compensation for your fender bender.

What to Do After a Minor Car Accident?

What Steps Should You Take After a Minor Car Accident?

Dealing with minor car accidents can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when it comes to determining fault. However, following the steps below can help you handle the situation more effectively and reduce the likelihood of any further complications arising.

Step 1: Check for Injuries

The first and immediate action should be to check yourself and the passengers for any injuries. If anyone is hurt, call 911 and seek medical assistance from first responders at the accident scene if anyone is hurt.

Also, remember that even a minor accident can trigger an adrenaline rush, which might hide feelings of pain, and the injuries might not be apparent immediately. Or the symptoms might show up after many hours or days after the accident.

Hence, it is advisable to refrain from making statements such as “I’m not hurt” during interactions with law enforcement or insurance adjusters until qualified medical professionals thoroughly evaluate you, your passengers, and your vehicle. For example, injuries related to airbag deployment in minor collisions might not be evident immediately.

Step 2: Move to a Safe Location

After a minor collision, prioritize the safety of yourself and your passengers. If your car is still operational, carefully drive it off the highway or roadway to allow traffic to flow smoothly. If a shoulder is available, pull over as far as possible.

Ideally, find an accessible parking area to keep the streets clear of disabled vehicles and reduce the risk of further injury from passing cars. 

However, if your car is unsafe to drive, promptly move it to the side of the road or a nearby sidewalk to avoid any potential road hazards. You can also contact highway patrol for immediate assistance.

Step 3: Document the Scene

Once you have ensured everyone’s safety and assessed for potential injuries, gather evidence of the crash. This evidence can be crucial in determining the extent of fault assigned to each party involved in the accident.

If it is safe, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident site. Capture images of:

  • The positions of the vehicles involved
  • Damage to each vehicle
  • Any visible injuries to yourself or others
  • Road conditions that may have contributed to the accident
  • The traffic signal or signs in case of an accident

Step 4: Contact Law Enforcement

Regardless of the accident’s severity, it is essential to report it to the police immediately. Call the local law enforcement or the appropriate authority to report the incident. 

Once the police officer arrives at the site, they will investigate and gather evidence to form their own opinion of what happened. 

Note that even if you feel responsible for the fender bender, do not apologize or admit fault on the spot. Moreover, after the police statement is recorded, ask for the officer’s name, phone number, badge number, and police report number to obtain the accident report with no complications.

The vehicle accident police report will prove beneficial in safeguarding your legal rights, both personally and with insurance companies. Without an official accident report, insurance companies are less likely to provide coverage for damages.

Step 5: Exchange Information

After ensuring safety and reporting the crash, exchange contact information with the other drivers involved in the collision. Obtain the following details:

  • All drivers’ names and contact information (phone numbers and addresses)
  • Insurance information, insurance card, and driver’s license
  • Vehicle details, including make, model, and license plate numbers

Step 6: Gather Witness Information

If there are any witnesses to the accident, ask for their names and contact information. Witnesses can provide statements that help clarify the sequence of events and support your case if there are any disputes regarding the fault.

Step 7: Don’t Accept or Admit Blame for the Crash

After a minor car accident, it’s crucial to remain composed and courteous while awaiting the authorities at the scene. However, make sure not to offer a statement of fault or apologize, as this could be perceived as accepting responsibility for the incident.

Even if you feel partially responsible, avoid admitting blame in any way. Your empathy may lead you to create a false narrative, so it’s best to let the police officer draw their conclusions. Answer their questions honestly and concisely and provide the necessary information without volunteering unnecessary details.

Step 8: Stay at the Accident Scene Until Cleared to Leave

You should always remain at the accident scene until authorities clear you to leave. Regardless of how minor the accident may seem, never flee once law enforcement has been notified. This is because leaving the accident scene is considered a criminal offense.

So, make sure to stay there unless your injuries require immediate treatment. In such cases, law enforcement can contact you in the hospital.

Step 9: Notify Your Insurance Company

In case of a minor accident, also known as a fender bender, it is essential to take initial action and then contact your car insurance company to report the incident. Even if the accident is minor and you think there is no need to report it, it is still recommended. 

Reporting the accident can safeguard you from potential claims against you that the other driver may make. Provide accurate and honest information about the incident to your insurance company. It should include details of the other vehicle(s), the drivers involved, and any witness information you may have obtained.

Accidents Considered Fender Benders by Insurance Companies

Minor accidents, or fender benders, typically cause only a tiny amount of damage to the vehicles involved, often limited to the bumpers or fenders. 

Rear-end collisions and sideswipes are the most common examples of fender benders. Although they are generally considered minor accidents, they can still result in injuries to the drivers or passengers involved.

If you suffer minor accident-related injuries, it’s worth considering filing a claim. This is because injuries sustained from such accidents can sometimes become more significant than they appear initially or turn into chronic problems over time.

In cases where the other driver is at fault, you can file a bodily injury claim with their insurer or file a claim under your policy’s med pay or personal injury protection coverage if you have it. If the other driver is uninsured, you can take advantage of your own policy benefits if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.

Step 10: Seek Medical Attention

Even in minor car accidents, don’t overlook the importance of seeking medical attention, even if you believe your injuries are not severe. Some injuries from auto accidents, like whiplash or internal trauma, may not manifest immediately. A prompt medical evaluation can help detect and record concealed injuries, which is crucial for insurance claims and legal purposes.

Step 11: Keep Records

Maintain thorough records of all aspects related to the accident. It includes:

  • Copies of the police report
  • Medical reports and bills
  • Car repair estimates and receipts
  • Records of conversation with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company
  • Other relevant documents related to the accident
car accident lawyer

Step 12: Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

In a minor car accident, it’s essential to be aware that injuries might not be immediately visible, and the damages could be more extensive than they appear at first glance, especially once car repairs begin. While taking the proper steps after the accident is crucial, contacting an experienced car accident lawyer becomes paramount to safeguarding your rights.

A lawyer can navigate the complexities of your case, deal with insurance companies, and protect your interests throughout the process. Having a competent attorney by your side can make a substantial difference in securing the compensation you deserve and addressing any potential long-term consequences of the accident.

Need Help After a Car Accident? Contact Uptown Injury Law

Getting into a car accident, even minor, can be a stressful experience, especially if you are injured. But before you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you need to contact an experienced auto accident lawyer at Uptown Injury Law, PLLC.

For over 15 years, our experienced car accident attorneys have built a reputation for their exceptional expertise in the legal industry. When you work with us, you can be confident that your car accident case is in the best possible hands. Moreover, our lawyers work on a contingency fee policy. That means you don’t pay us unless we win your case.

Contact us today or call us at 917-540-8728 to schedule your FREE consultation.

FAQs

What Defines a Minor Car Crash?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines minor crashes as accidents that meet all of the following criteria: the vehicle is drivable from the crash site, the door to the driver’s car seat is undamaged, no passengers sustained severe injuries, airbags did not deploy (if present), and there is no visible damage to the car seat.

What if the Other Driver’s Insurance Denies My Claim?

If the other driver’s insurance denies your claim, consult with your own insurance company. You can also seek legal advice from experienced car accident lawyers to explore other options to recover compensation for your damages.

What if I’m in a Hit-And-Run Accident?

If you’re in a hit-and-run accident, getting as much information as possible about the other driver is essential. It includes the other car’s model, license plate number, and the direction the at-fault driver was moving. In addition, make sure to call the police and file a report.

Can I Negotiate the Settlement With the Insurance Company Myself?

Yes, you can negotiate the settlement independently. However, remember that insurance companies try to settle for less than you deserve. Consider seeking legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney to ensure fair compensation.

How Can an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Assist Me in a Minor Car Crash?

A skilled lawyer can help you in a minor car accident by protecting your rights, guiding you through the legal steps, and ensuring fair compensation. They handle evidence gathering, communication with insurance companies, and negotiations on your behalf, alleviating the legal burden and increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

How Does the Insurance Company Calculate Vehicle Damage?

Insurance companies calculate vehicle damage through inspection, photos, estimation, previous records, total loss threshold, salvage value, and comparative analysis. This process helps determine the appropriate compensation for repair costs or the fair market value in case of a total loss.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car accident lawyers primarily work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win the case and receive a percentage (usually around 33%-40%) of the settlement or award. Others may charge on an hourly basis or a flat fee for their services. It’s essential to discuss the lawyer’s fee and any additional costs during the initial consultation.

How Long Do I Have to File an Insurance Claim After a Minor Car Accident?

The filing deadline for an insurance claim after a minor car accident varies depending on your insurance company and policy terms. Generally, filing the claim as soon as possible is best to ensure a smooth process and avoid potential complications. Hence, contact your insurance provider immediately after the accident to know the specific time frame and requirements for filing a claim.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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