What To Do After A Fender Bender
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that over 7 million car accidents take place every year. From those, over 2 million are injured and more than 40,000 people are killed. In a lifetime, one out of every four drivers is involved in a car accident.
The financial cost of car accidents is over $230 billion a year. According to State Farm Insurance Company, the statistics state that 75 percent of car accidents are fender benders without injuries and only involve property damage.
Many insurance companies classify them as minor car accidents. People settle quickly and rarely sue.
Minor Car Accident Causes
Car-with-car minor accidents usually happen at a low speed and only with minor damage. These accidents usually occur when drivers:
- Are backing out of driveways
- Are unable to stop at intersections because of bad weather or problems with their brakes
- Drive excessively fast in parking lots at grocery stores, schools, malls etc.
- Are preoccupied with their cell phones, putting on makeup or tuning the radio, etc.
- Are involved in chain-reaction accidents in slow traffic
- Go to sleep in rush hour, bumper-to-bumper, or slow rolling traffic
The majority of people are familiar with minor accident guidelines and know what to do.
Frequently, even minor car accidents are chaotic. There can be broken glass, bent steel, and upset drivers. The chaos can make it easy to overlook or forget what is needed to preserve the evidence to make a correct insurance claim.
After a car accident, the frustration, adrenaline, and anger can impede your thought processes. No one likes their car dented or scratched. Having to stand out in the middle of traffic can be unnerving as well. Not to mention all the rubbernecking drivers staring at you as they go by. Everyone involved in the accident will have their schedule disrupted and may be late for work or picking up the children. This alone can be upsetting enough to forget important details.
What is most important is that no one is injured. Listed here are 10 important ideas to remember after a car accident. You may want to print this list and keep it in your car.
10 Things to Remember After a Minor Car Accident
You can always use your cell phone to call work to tell them you were in an accident, and you will get there as soon as you can. Most employers understand. If you are married, you could call your spouse and ask them or someone else to pick up the children.
Anger is undermining
Keep cool. Don’t allow yourself to get upset, you will forget what to do, or you may make yourself ill. It’s not worth it. It’s a minor car accident without injuries. At this point, it really does not matter who is responsible.
Do not apologize
You may feel compelled to apologize for the accident. If you are at fault or not, no apologies, please. The other driver can use whatever you say against you as evidence. It is best to let your insurance company make the comments. If the minor car accident goes to court the other driver can use your comments against you in a civil case. It is not likely you will have to go to court.
Look for injuries
Most minor car accidents do not result in injuries, but it is always good to make sure. Do not hesitate to call emergency services if anyone involved is hurt. Always follow up with a physician after an accident, even if you do not feel any pain, as these types of injuries might take time to develop.
Call the local police
A police officer sent to the accident scene is very important. When the police, arrive they will create a police report. Included in the report are the names of the drivers and witnesses along with their contact information. The police will also draw a small diagram of the accident and decide who was at fault. The officer should give you the number of the report so you can pick up a copy at the police station a few days following the accident.
If the minor accident occurs on commercial property, look for the security guards or personnel. They can be helpful while the police are on the way. After the report, you should ask for the number of the incident report.
Get the insurance contact information
Make sure you exchange the insurance and contact information with the other driver. The driver’s full name, contact info, and the name and telephone number of his insurance company should be written down. Also, write the make of the car and the license plate number.
Photographs and videos
Take photos and video with a cell phone or camera if possible of the scene of the accident. Get a photograph of the point of impact. If there are any open bottles of alcohol or beer cans visible be sure to get a photo of that as well.
Look for witnesses
Witnesses can be a good asset to help your insurance company, especially if the other driver says later that he was injured. If possible, get the witness to write their name and contact information. A brief statement of what they saw can be very helpful.
Contact your insurance company
Call your insurance company and tell them you were involved in a minor car accident. Your insurance company will advise you what to do and will file a claim. Be sure to get a claim number.
We hope these have been helpful tips to give you an idea of what to expect in a minor car accident. Don’t forget to print out this list and keep it in your car so you can be sure to protect yourself following a minor car accident.