Drivers likely will not avoid car accidents throughout their lifetime. However, most drivers do not regularly get into accidents. So, once they do, there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty about what might happen next.
Fender benders are accidents in which there tends to be some property damage but only minor injuries. Regardless of how minor the damage is or how uninjured you believe you are, your first step should be to contact the police.
If you are in an accident, the other driver is likely trying to figure out some way to prevent the issue from showing up on their insurance. Drivers will hand you false insurance information, someone else’s insurance information, may not even have insurance, or blame you for the accident. You cannot rely on surveillance video, though it can be helpful. Sometimes, it can be difficult to recover from private companies. These companies are often more interested in protecting their products than policing their parking lots.
The police will take down an accident report and you will then have something on file to show the insurance company if a dispute over liability arises.
If you are uninjured, you should begin taking pictures of the damage to your car and the other driver’s car. This will help explain how the accident occurred and prevent the other driver from making false claims later based on ambiguous evidence. The police are there to take a report, but they are not your advocate, even if you are in the right. Their job is to take the report, make sure everyone is okay, and then get the vehicles out of the way. Have them file a report, but do not think for a second that just because you believe you are in the right, the police are going to see it the same way. More often than not, pictures taken at the scene prevent the other driver from making false claims that give the insurance company an actionable basis on which to deny liability.
You will want pictures of the other driver’s vehicle, license plate, insurance information, and their driver’s license.
While fender benders are not known for causing serious personal injuries, they tend to cause minor injuries that can become major if not treated properly. Concussions and whiplash are common even in fender benders and drivers may not know the extent of their injuries until days later. The insurance company will use evidence that you avoided medical intervention as proof that your injuries were not substantial. So, consider that before you deny medical attention.
If you have been in a minor accident, you may have to fight to get your money, even if you know the other driver was at fault. Call Lafferty, Gallagher, & Scott today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.
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