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Screeching tires, slamming on the brakes, gripping our steering wheels, and then — thud! Fender bender.
Many of us have been there. Minor car accidents are common, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid a fender bender. Whether it’s your fault or not, traffic accidents are a stressful experience. There’s usually some confusion about exactly what happened, and even more about what to do next.
Being prepared and knowing what to do after a minor accident will help to prevent a major disaster. If you were involved in a small car accident, there’s no need to worry. Keep calm, and read on to learn about what to do when you get in a fender bender.
In a minor car accident, little damage to your car can still mean a lot of damage to your health and your wallet. Knowing how a fender bender can affect you, your auto insurance, and your health will help you prepare to handle the situation in the best way possible.
One of the most common questions people have is: “How much does a fender bender raise insurance rates?” The answer depends on driving history, but according to a study on car insurance claims, drivers who make just one claim will see their insurance rates rise on average at 41 percent. This is why it is sometimes better to not make a claim unless damages exceed $2,000 or someone is injured. It is still recommended that you exchange insurance information with all persons involved.
You are legally obliged to share your insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver says they are making a claim, or their auto insurance company contacts you, be polite and stay calm. Tell them to contact your insurance company or attorney. Do not give them a statement about the accident, do not admit fault, and do not sign anything.
Depending on your state and local laws, you may be required to report any car accidents, regardless of damages incurred, otherwise face penalties such as suspension of your license.
Seemingly minor accidents can have major health consequences. In fact, over 290,000 Americans are treated for motor vehicle injuries each year. In incidents involving larger vehicles, such as truck accidents, injuries are a particular concern.
Of the most common car accident injuries, many can occur in minor accidents. These include breaks and fractures, lacerations, concussions, and even traumatic brain injuries. People involved in fender benders are especially susceptible to whiplash. It’s important to seek out medical care for any car accident injuries, regardless of how minor the injuries seem initially. Some serious and even life-threatening injuries, such as internal bleeding, may seem minor at first.
Knowing what to do in a minor car accident will help prevent major problems. While things might seem stressful in the moment, know that it will be okay. Keep calm and take the following steps to mitigate any issues.
While the advice provided here is broadly applicable, the precise steps you follow could vary depending on the type of car accident you’ve been involved in.
It is best to be prepared in case you are involved in an accident. Some easy ways to be prepared in case you are involved in a minor accident include:
After taking care of the immediate situation, it’s important to mitigate potential liabilities. This will help ensure you avoid any unfair lawsuits or fault accident claims.
Single-vehicle fender benders involve just one car. For example, maybe you strike a tree, back into your mailbox, or veer off the road and damage your bumper.
Negligent driving is one of the main causes for single-vehicle accidents, and many of them can be prevented. Whether you’re at fault or not, knowing what to do next is crucial.
A common question after single-vehicle accidents is “should I call my insurance company after a minor accident?” As a general rule of thumb — no. Single-vehicle accidents with damages under $2,000 generally do not warrant an insurance claim. Claims often increase insurance premiums, which negate any savings.
In most single-vehicle accidents, the driver is liable. However, this could change if the vehicle malfunctions or road conditions are unreasonably dangerous. If this is the case, you could file a claim against the vehicle manufacturer or government agency responsible for road maintenance. The involvement of self-driving cars can make determining liability particularly difficult. It is important to get in touch with an injury lawyer if someone else is liable for any injuries you might have sustained.
Minor accidents never need to be a major problem. Knowing what to do after a minor car accident will help you stay protected. Always be prepared. Taking the correct course of action helps keep you and your wallet safe.
“Fractures: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173312.
Peterson, Kim. “Car Accident? Here's How Much Your Rates Could Rise.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 27 Jan. 2015, www.cbsnews.com/news/heres-how-much-your-rates-could-rise-after-an-accident/.
“Whiplash.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 5 Feb. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/whiplash/symptoms-causes/syc-20378921.
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