A minor car accident such as a fender bender may be inconvenient, but at least you do not have to worry about serious injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than seven million car accidents each year. Of those, more than two million people are injured and about 40,000 are killed. Fender benders tend to involve damage to the car, and most people settle quickly.
Vehicle-to-vehicle fender benders may result from various circumstances such as backing out of parking spaces or driveways, the inability to stop at intersections due to faulty brakes or slippery weather conditions, driving too fast in parking lots, distracted driving, as part of a chain reaction, or nodding off on the road.
While no one wants to be involved in any kind of car accident, fender benders have a straightforward protocol compared to more serious events.
Steps After A Minor Car Accident
Don’t panic. The first thing to remember is that no one has been hurt – it’s only steel and glass, and could have been a lot worse. If you are on your way to work, call the office and let them know you’ll be late.
Be pleasant, but not apologetic. Your natural instincts may be to apologize for the fender bender whether or not it was your fault. But it’s better to leave any comments for your insurance company because anything you say to the other driver may be used as evidence against you – even in a civil case.
Do not yell or react negatively toward the other driver(s). You do not want to escalate the event by turning a simple accident into a physical altercation. Avoid pushing, shoving, or threatening anyone.
Check for injuries. Even a fender bender can cause whiplash, soreness, or sprained muscles. If you or someone at the scene seems to be in any kind of pain, do not hesitate to call the police.
Calling the police is not always necessary, but you should do so if the vehicles are in an awkward position that has the potential to cause harm. If your vehicle was badly damaged, call the police in order to get a police report for your insurance claim. They will provide a report with the names and addresses of all parties involved, details surrounding the accident, a diagram, and make a designation of who was at fault. If the other driver was at fault and you reside in an at-fault state, this report will be crucial for your claim.
Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. While you may also show the other drivers your own driver’s license, be sure to get it back before he or she leaves the scene.
Take photos and videos with your phone. Even if your car only has a minor dent, it is still a good idea to document the position of the cars, the damage to the other driver’s vehicle in case they claim more serious damages than you remember.
Contact the insurance company to submit your claim. While the other driver should inform their own insurance provider, you may want to call the provider to cover all your bases.