How to Handle a Minor Car Accident
By Samantha Larson
Car accidents are a pain, and unfortunately, they happen more than you think. In fact, the average driver will be in about three to four car accidents in his or her lifetime.
While not every car accident will result in significant damage and injuries, minor accidents can still be jarring for all involved. After a minor car accident, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about how to proceed. By following these simple steps, you can ensure you are complying with the law and are as safe as possible following a minor car accident.
Perhaps the most difficult step, staying calm will help the overall situation from start to finish. Take a deep breath and do your best to stay calm when interacting with fellow drivers and law enforcement officers, should they arrive at the scene.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
After a minor accident, assess yourself, your fellow passengers, and the other drivers involved for injuries. If anyone is hurt, request emergency medical assistance right away.
It is also recommended to schedule a full medical evaluation following an accident. Doing so can ensure no injuries were overlooked or help provide evidence later on should the accident be subject to a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim.
Move to Safety
Prioritize moving to safety after a minor accident. If the accident occurs on a major roadway or in a main lane of traffic, move off to the side if possible.
Contact the Police
Depending on the severity of the accident and local laws, you may need to contact law enforcement. Many states do not require police notification if the accident caused less than $1,000 of damage and no one was hurt.
On the other hand, some states, like Colorado, require car accidents be reported regardless of the estimated cost of damage. It is best to get familiar with the state laws and proceed as necessary following a minor car collision.
Even if no damage is immediately apparent, it is best to exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident. If the driver is combative or refuses to provide his or her insurance, contact law enforcement for help.
If the minor collision was a hit and run accident, try to record all the information you can, including the car make, model, year, and license plate.
Stay on the Scene
If police enforcement was called, you must stay at the scene of the accident until you are released. During this time, investigate the scene. Take ample photos of your car, the other cars, the roadway, and record the scene for evidence, should it be necessary in the future.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If damage was done to your car, it is recommended to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. In the event the damage didn’t appear as bad, and you chose not to report it to your insurance company, but later want to file an insurance claim, you may be denied coverage.
Contact an Attorney
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be able to recover compensation. Consider contacting a car accident attorney to learn more about your legal options; most law firms offer free consultations to learn about your rights.
Car accidents can be overwhelming, no matter how major or minor they are. Even minor car accidents can cause major headaches when it comes to handling the situation and filing the necessary paperwork. By following these eight steps, you can be prepared for whatever follows a minor car accident.