Every year, about 6 million car crashes occur throughout the US. Many of these cases include minor fender benders. Not everyone thinks to file a personal injury claim after a minor accident, though.
You could lose your chance to receive compensation for property damage, injuries, and other losses as a result.
Don’t risk it. Instead, take the time to follow these seven steps after a fender bender. Following these steps will ensure you gather the evidence you need.
If you decide to file a personal injury claim in the future, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have evidence to build your claim.
Not sure what to do in a car accident? Keep reading for everything you need to feel prepared!
1. Move to Safety
Immediately after your fender bender accident, it’s normal to feel a little disoriented. Take a deep breath and try to recall these steps. Otherwise, you might make a decision that impacts your claim.
For example, you shouldn’t speak out of frustration or anger. Don’t apologize for what happened, either.
Even with minor car accidents, someone might see an apology as an admission of guilt.
Instead, take a breath and move to the side of the road. Make sure you’re in a safe area.
It’s important to remain near the crash. Don’t drive away without calling the police first.
In some states, you’re legally obligated to file an official police report. If you don’t know your state’s laws, don’t risk it. Instead, move to a safe space and wait for the police to arrive.
While you wait for the police to arrive, assess your car and your personal injuries. With minor car accidents, injuries usually aren’t severe. It’s still important to keep a documented record of your injuries, big or small.
2. Exchange Information
While you wait for the police to arrive, take a moment to exchange information with the other driver. Make sure to get their personal information before leaving the site of the crash. For example, you can ask for their:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance company and policy number
- Make, model, year, and color of their car
While you wait for the police to arrive, it’s important to avoid small talk. Don’t discuss what happened. Remember, anything you say could impact your claim in the future.
If you file an insurance claim, the adjuster will determine what happened. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will handle it instead.
3. File a Police Report
Once the police arrive, you can let them know what happened before and after the fender bender accident. Stick to the facts. Don’t embellish when accounting for your side of the story.
Get the police officer’s name and badge number before they leave the scene. Ask if they can send you a copy of the police report, too.
Remember, laws can vary based on your state. Some police departments allow you to file a police report within 72 hours of the accident.
Instead of waiting, call the police to arrive at the scene of the crash. It’s more likely they’ll gather accurate information.
4. Gather Evidence
Don’t rush to leave the scene of your fender bender accident. Instead, take a moment to gather evidence. The evidence you gather can benefit your insurance and personal injury claims.
First, take photos of both cars that were involved in the crash.
The front bumper accounts for nearly a third of all damages in auto accidents. The grille represents about 20%. Meanwhile, read-end accidents account for about 33.4% of the total number of accidents a year.
In fact, there were 2.1 million rear-end collisions in the span of a single year.
Make sure to get photos at every angle. You can also capture video footage.
Then, document your account of what happened. Sometimes, you can forget little details in the days after the crash. Writing down your account of events will ensure you don’t forget anything.
Make a note of your surroundings. Was it raining? Were there any obstructions in the road?
Keep the evidence you gather safe until you can consult a personal injury lawyer.
5. Look for Witnesses
While you’re at the scene of the crash, look around for witnesses. Did anyone see what happened? Ask if they’re comfortable giving you their contact information.
Don’t pressure a witness to give a statement. Instead, add a comment in your notes. Your personal injury lawyer will contact the witness later.
Remember to remain calm as you speak to anyone after the crash.
6. Check With a Doctor
With minor car accidents, injuries aren’t usually too serious. It’s still important to visit a doctor. Only a medical professional can fully assess your injuries.
Sometimes, adrenaline can mask the full extent of your pain and injuries. You might not feel anything until days after the crash. Visiting a doctor right away can help you avoid complications.
Keep a record of every doctor and specialist you visit. Ask for their official report, too.
Keep track of your medical bills as well. Your lawyer can use your bills when calculating your losses.
7. Call a Lawyer
If you were in a fender bender, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Look for a lawyer who specializes in auto accidents. Consider how long they’ve practiced law. Ask how many cases like yours they’ve handled over the years, too.
You’ll have peace of mind finding a lawyer with the experience and expertise you need.
Then, schedule a consultation appointment and discuss the specifics of your case. Ask the lawyer how they would handle your lawsuit. Make sure they’ll develop a customized approach to your case.
You can also check online to read reviews about each lawyer you research. Try to find a winner. Ask about the payout for their most recent cases, too.
Then, you can work with your lawyer to file a personal injury claim.
Consider Your Case: 7 Steps to Follow After a Fender Bender
Following the right steps after a fender bender accident can impact your future. Without evidence, you could struggle to file a personal injury claim. Instead, follow these seven steps to ensure you have the evidence you need.
Searching for an experienced auto injury attorney? We’re here to help.
Request a free case review from our team today to get started.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.329.3491.