Every year, there are about 10 million car accidents. According to industry estimates, most people will get into three or four accidents during the course of their lifetime.
That’s why, even though we’ve already discussed what you should do after a car accident, we wanted to follow up with more information. When you’re in a minor car accident like a fender bender, they’re not just an annoyance disrupting your day. They can lead to expensive and frustrating ordeals.
The majority of minor car accidents are caused by distracted drivers (don’t text and drive!), backing out of the driveway, braking issues caused by malfunctioning equipment or weather, driving too fast in parking lots, or making a mistake in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The best way to deal with minor car accidents is to avoid them in the first place. Always drive defensively, brake carefully in bad weather, and don’t get distracted by the radio or your cell phone.
Of course, you can’t prevent everything. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for any fender benders that may come your way. Here are our tips for what to do after a minor car accident (part 2).
What to do after a minor car accident:
- Always move your car out of traffic and turn on your hazard lights. That way, you and the other car(s) involved in the accident won’t be a hazard for other drivers.
- Never accept fault. Even when it’s a minor accident and there are no injuries, it’s easy to get rattled. The do’s: Take a deep breath, keep calm, and be polite to the other driver(s). The don’ts: Don’t get angry, don’t apologize, and don’t say anything except the facts.
- Call the police. Yes, it’s a good idea to call 911, even in the case of a minor accident with no injuries. The police report helps sort everything out and it ensures that your case isn’t just the other driver’s words against your own. Even if you don’t file a police report on the spot, some states give you up to 72 hours to file one. Find out if that’s the case in your state.
- Exchange insurance information and contact information. This is an absolute must. Whether you call 911 or you don’t, you need to get this information so you can follow proper procedure and file claims. If you don’t have this information on you, try looking it up on your smartphone. If you have the police there and you don’t have insurance information, you could get a citation. However, some police officers will give you 24 hours to bring your insurance information to a station. Inquire if this is possible for you.
- Don’t sign anything unless it’s for police or an insurance agent.
- Take photos of the damage. If you’re like most people, you probably have a smartphone on you. It’s a great tool for recording the damage on the spot.
- Look for eyewitnesses. Even for a minor accident, eyewitnesses are a great resource that can help your case. If a witness consents, take down their contact information and their brief statement. It can help inform the police report and how your insurance companies deal with the claim.
- Notify your insurance company immediately.
- In some states, you might be required to report the minor accident to the DMV. Contact your local DMV to find out if this is the case for you.
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