Over 1,060 people are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Yet that’s only a small portion of the six million crashes that occur each year in the US.
Whether you’re in a fender bender or intense crash, it helps to have a plan. Otherwise, you might miss a step that could impact your future.
Do you know what to do after a minor car accident? Here are the different steps you need to complete. By using this guide, you can protect your rights and fight for compensation.
Otherwise, you’ll have to pay off your medical bills and property damages alone.
1. Get to a Safe Area
First, take a deep breath and try to focus. Immediately following a car crash, you’ll likely feel confused. Try to focus on the situation at hand.
It’s important to move out of the way of oncoming traffic as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could cause another crash and additional injuries.
Make sure your car is safe to drive. If you’re unsure, wait for the police to arrive. They’ll tell you how to proceed.
If your car is safe to drive, communicate with the other driver. You should both move to the same area, such as a nearby parking lot. Remain near the site of the crash.
Turn your car’s hazard lights on before you move.
Otherwise, it’s essential you remain near the scene of the crash. Driving off could put you in legal trouble. The police could charge you with a hit-and-run.
2. Assess Your Health
About 20 to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries from car crashes each year. Another 1.35 million people die. In other words, 3,700 people die in car crashes each day.
While you might have survived the crash, it’s still important to assess your overall health. In some cases, adrenaline can mask the pain. You might not realize you’re severely injured until hours or days after the crash. Even for minor crashes, it’s important to go to the ER or hospital and get medical advice, as you could have long-term effects that show up later, so now is the right time to get it evaluated and identified. This also enables you to charge these expenses to the at fault drives insurance company and not out of your pocket, so doing this sooner and getting checked out will be easier on your wallet and better to ensure everything is healthy and checked out.
For example, back and neck pain can take time to become apparent. In fender bender accidents, whiplash is common which could lead to pinched nerves, reduced circulation, or other debilitating health effects.
When determining what to do after a minor car accident, every little injury matters.
If you or anyone else involved in the crash was injured, call for medical help right away. Have a professional assess your injuries.
Was the other driver injured? If they can’t call on their own, call for them.
With a minor car accident, you might not sustain severe injuries that make it seem like you need to call an ambulance. If you don’t call for help on the scene, pay attention to your symptoms in the weeks following the crash.
You might not recognize it hurts to turn your head, reach out, or roll your shoulders until later on.
Any minor car accident injury you sustain can help you build a lawsuit. Ask the medical professional for proof of their evaluation. You’ll need their report to prove damages.
3. Call the Police
As soon as you and anyone else involved in the crash are safe, call the police right away.
Some states have a legal requirement that anyone involved in a crash files an official police report. Don’t leave the scene of the crash without speaking with the police. If the other driver leaves, try to catch their license plate before they drive off.
The official police report will play an important part in your minor car accident settlement. Your minor car accident lawyer will need this report when building your case.
Their report will mention any deaths, injuries, and property damage that occurred as a result of the crash.
Make sure to ask the cop who arrives for a copy of the report. You might need to go to the police station to retrieve the final copy. Otherwise, ask if they can send it by email.
Don’t forget to write down the officer’s name, badge number, and phone number. Ask for their card if they have one on hand.
Your minor car accident lawyer might want to contact them when building your case.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Small Talk
It might take time for the police to arrive. While you wait, make sure to avoid unnecessary small talk with the other driver.
Above all else, do not apologize. An apology counts as an admission of fault.
Don’t admit to having any responsibility for the crash. You don’t need to offer an opinion about what happened, either.
If they ask about your injuries, tell them you need a licensed physician to assess your current state.
5. Write It All Down
It’s common for people to forget certain details after they’re in a car crash. To avoid forgetting anything essential to your case, write it all down. Use your phone or find something to write on while you’re at the scene.
Make sure to gather the driver’s contact information, including their name, phone number, and address. Take a record of their license number, license plate number, and insurance number as well.
What about their car? Take note of the make, model, year, and color.
Try to write down as many details as possible regarding the crash, too. What direction were you driving in? Were there any obstructions on the road?
Your lawyer might ask for these notes when building your case.
6. Gather Photo and Video Evidence
You don’t have to rely on your memory. Instead, gather photo and video evidence as well.
First, gather photos of the cars, including how they’re positioned and where the crash occurred. Take photos of any signs and crossroads you see, too.
Don’t forget to take photos of any property damage, as well as your injuries.
7. Visit a Doctor or ER or Hospital. (Day1: Same Day as Accident)
Remember, it’s important to determine if you sustained a minor car accident injury, even if you don’t think that you did.
Schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Let them know about any delayed symptoms you’re experiencing, such as pain. They can schedule an imaging test to see if you sustained a serious injury.
Otherwise, keep a record of every doctor you visit. Did you check with a physical therapist or chiropractor as well? Keep track of their contact information.
Your minor car accident lawyer will use these records to prove you sustained injuries.
8. Call Your Insurance Company(Day1: Same Day As Accident) (Just to inform and not give a statement)
Call your insurance agent while you’re still at the scene of the crash. Some insurance companies require you to use a smartphone app.
It helps to download this app and have it ready on your phone. That way, you won’t have to wait for it to download while you’re at the scene.
The main thing is to inform them (insurance company) that you were in a crash so they have it documented. (Same Day as an accident). Do not tell them any details without speaking to an attorney, as the insurance might look out for themselves and their shareholders, so you need to be prepared with an accident attorney that will be on your side and guide you through this complex process. (The car accident seems to be simple, but the process on the back end with the evidence, how its presented, analyzed, and the insurance and lawyers going back and forth all need to be done right for maximum case success)
9. Find a Car Accident Lawyer (Day1/2: Same day as an accident or early next day, as soon as possible)
It’s important to find a minor car accident lawyer who has the experience and expertise you need. They can help you file a lawsuit to receive compensation.
First, ask your friends and family members if they can recommend anyone. If they were in a car accident before, they could point you in the right direction.
Prioritize looking for someone with years of experience in your state. Some laws and procedures can differ based on your location.
Make sure the lawyer is licensed to practice in your state.
You can check your local bar association website. While you’re there, review their track record as well. You’ll want a winning lawyer at your side. Top lawyers work on “No Win, No Fee”, which means they only get compensated after you win. These are the lawyers you should work with, as they have a huge incentive to win or they don’t get paid.
Consider reading online reviews from their previous clients as well.
10. File a Claim
While you’re on the phone with your insurance agent, ask them what they need you to do next. They should walk you through the process.
Your insurance agent might need the name and phone number of the officer who arrived on the scene as well.
Be Aware of the Costs
Car crashes cost Americans about $242 billion every year. You could get compensation for your losses if you file a lawsuit.
Before you hire a lawyer, however, you’ll need to make sure they suit your budget. Some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which could prove helpful if you can’t afford their services out of pocket.
A lawyer who works based on this fee structure will only require payment if they win your case.
It’s a great way to motivate your lawyer to do everything they can to win your lawsuit. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who wants a quick settlement out of court.
Once you find a lawyer, they’ll help you file an official lawsuit. They’ll use the evidence you gathered to prove the other driver was at fault.
With their help, you can receive compensation to cover your losses.
Finding an experienced lawyer can make all the difference with your case.
Make Your Case: Follow These Steps After a Minor Car Accident
A minor car accident is no minor matter. You need to make sure someone has your legal best interests in mind. By finding an experienced minor car accident lawyer, you can build a case and fight for your rights.
Need help building your case? We have helped 1000s and our attorneys have won billions for the injured.
Schedule a meeting with an attorney on our team today.