Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States. They are so common, in fact, that you are likely to be involved in one in your lifetime. Thankfully, the vast majority of car accidents are not serious or life threatening. Still, even minor car accidents can be frightening and lead to negative consequences.
Research from State Farm Insurance found that three quarters of all car accidents are “fender-benders,” or those that don’t lead to injury. These minor accidents usually only involve property damage and people rarely sue over them. These accidents occur at low speeds and most likely occur:
- When someone is backing out of a driveway
- At intersections
- In parking lots
- While driving distracted (texting, applying makeup, etc.)
- When someone gets caught in the middle of a chain reaction (rear-end accidents in slow moving traffic)
If you have been involved in a minor car accident, heed the following tips from our Kansas City car accident lawyers:
- Stay Calm
After an accident, tension and emotions run high. It can be tempting to give in to your temper, but this won’t do anyone any good. Your employer, or daycare center, or wherever you were going, will understand. Pick up the phone and make alternative arrangements for your children or a meeting. Remember, it’s only a car.
- Don’t Apologize
It might seem natural to apologize, even if you know the accident wasn’t your fault. Resist the temptation, because apologizing can be tantamount to admitting fault, and could ultimately affect your insurance claim. Instead of apologizing, ask if the other driver and their passengers are all right, or if they need to use your phone to make arrangements. This is still friendly, but will not affect your case.
- Call the Police
Even if no one suffered injuries, it’s good to have a police report on hand. Unfortunately, most larger departments won’t send an officer unless someone reports an injury. If you cannot get a police officer to respond to the scene of your accident, go to the police station and file a report yourself. This will make the insurance claims process easier.
- Exchange Insurance Information
After you make sure everyone is OK, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Ask for their driver’s license number, and write down their license plate number. At the very least, write down their full name, contact information, and phone number of their insurance company.
- Take Pictures
Nearly everyone today has access to a smartphone, and this can really help your case. Take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, the other vehicle, and destruction of any area landmarks or street signs. These may become helpful when it comes time to submit a claim to your insurance company.
Being involved in a minor car accident may be only an annoyance, but it still requires some work on your part. With the right approach, you can hasten your insurance claims process and get back on the road. Contact the police, exchange information, and take plenty of photographic evidence. With these tips, you can mitigate the stress of being in a minor car accident.