Small fender benders can happen at any time, from light bumps at stop lights to minor parking lot collisions. While serious accidents can be major life disruptions, these little accidents are often just inconveniences. Unfortunately, even minor accidents need to be treated with care. If your vehicle is damaged, it is important to know what you need to do to make sure that you are made whole again. Ignoring the normal best practices for a traffic accident just because it seems minor is a surefire way to end up spending more time and money than necessary to resolve the situation.
What Should You Do First?
Assuming it is clear that there are no injuries, your first steps should be the same as any in any other accident:
- Call the police non-emergency number so that a police report is written up for the accident
- Exchange information with the other driver, including insurance and contact information
- Take photos of the damage to both vehicles
- Take photos of the area around the accident in order to show the circumstances as completely as possible
- Contact your own insurance to report the accident
It is especially important to follow these steps if your car is damaged in a parking lot. Since traffic rules are often less clear in private areas, it will be important to have clear evidence to establish fault. Do not dispute fault or make any statements of fault to the other driver at the scene. When the police officer arrives, keep your statements limited to the facts of the accident.
Should You Request an Ambulance?
Car accident injuries do not always make themselves immediately apparent. Whiplash, in particular, may not make its symptoms known until hours later or even the next day. If you are at all concerned about the possibility that you may have suffered an injury, you should request an ambulance on the scene. When you contact your insurance company, you can also have an injury claim opened even if you did not go to the emergency room. This allows you the option to go later if you begin to experience symptoms, although it may make it slightly more difficult to follow up on your claim.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Most people tend to feel that minor accidents never require the assistance of a lawyer, but injuries can be suffered even in very low-speed collisions. Brain injuries and soft tissue damage can occur not only due to serious impacts but also seemingly minor jolts. If you believe that you have been injured in even a very minor accident, your best option will always be to contact a car accident attorney for a consultation.