Minor car accidents are extremely common. Unexpected fender benders happen at stop signs and stoplights, and in parking lots, driveways and neighborhoods. If you’re involved in a minor accident, you may be wondering what steps to take next. You may feel uncertain if you need to call the police or report the accident to your insurance provider, especially if there appear to be no injuries or car damage.
But appearances can be deceiving, and a minor car crash could have major consequences down the road if you don’t take the proper steps to protect yourself. Keep reading to learn the answers to questions you may be asking yourself after a fender bender.
Yes, you should call the police and get an official police report, even if you were only in a minor fender bender. If you don’t have official documentation of your accident, you may find it difficult to prove the cause of future injuries or car damage that may appear weeks or months later. The other driver could deny the accident happened (especially if he or she was the at-fault driver) and your insurance company may not be able to provide certain coverages without an official report.
While you’re waiting for the police, gather some information of your own, including:
While the information is still fresh, you should also write down notes about how the accident occurred. For your own protection, don’t discuss details about the accident or who was at-fault with the other driver. Only discuss that information with the responding police officer and your insurance company. Once the police arrive, make sure you take down the responding officer’s name, contact information and badge number. Ask for a copy of the official report before you leave. And ask where you can obtain a copy for your records.
Be prepared to stand your ground if the other driver tries to pressure you not to involve the police or insurance. A roadside agreement when emotions and stress levels are running high is never a good idea. Even if you’re being pressured to handle a minor accident on your own, you should always take the steps that will best protect your health, safety and finances.
Yes, you should call your car insurance provider to report the auto accident and make a claim. It’s a smart idea to report a minor accident for several reasons. First, if you have any amount of damage to your car, or if you have an injury, you may have insurance to cover the costs of damages and medical expenses. Even small car repairs can be expensive. When you make a claim, your insurance representative will walk you through the coverage available to you and how to use it.
Second, the other driver involved in the crash may try to make a claim for car damages or injuries that weren’t visible at the scene, but manifested several days, weeks or months later. In these cases, you will want to have documentation of the official report you made to your insurance company. Your claim can include the police report, photos of damages and your own statements regarding how the accident occurred. If your insurance company has all this information, it will protect you if the other driver tries to make a false claim for damages or injuries that weren’t caused by the auto accident.
Yes, you should seek medical care following any car accident, no matter how minor. Even small collisions can cause major damage to vulnerable parts of your body, like your neck and spine. Additionally, even if you don’t have pain or physical injuries at the accident scene, common auto accident injuries — like whiplash, concussions, soft tissue injuries, a herniated disc or back and neck pain — may not appear for several hours, days or weeks following the accident.
Left untreated, injuries like whiplash and concussions can lead to long-term pain and disability. After a car crash, seek care from a specialist who has experience identifying, diagnosing and treating accident injuries.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our team of board-certified physicians has the training and expertise to diagnose and treat whiplash, concussions, soft tissue injuries, fractures and spinal damage caused by car crashes. We have multiple treatment options to help you get back on your feet. And back to doing the activities you love as soon as possible.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, call us at 904-456-0017 or fill out our online contact form to request an appointment.