Not every car accident is a horrific event leading to injury and death. Fender benders account for many car accidents, ending in little more than a few dents and minor–if any–damage to motorists and passengers. However, even the seemingly insignificant fender bender is considered a car accident under the law, and you should treat it as such. Following some critical steps after a minor vehicle accident can make life easier when it comes time to file a claim or go to trial. If you were in a fender bender, or minor car accident, consider contacting the experienced attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 for a consultation today.
Auto Accident Statistics
It comes as no surprise that far fewer drivers traveled the roads in 2020. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, Americans drove 430 billion miles less, a 13% decrease from 2019. Yet, alarmingly, traffic fatalities increased by more than 7% during the pandemic, from 36,096 in 2019 to 38,680 in 2020. However, for every fatal car crash, countless fender benders occur on the road every day.
Steps to Take After a Fender Bender Accident
What should a motorist do after a minor collision that does not merit the presence of an ambulance? After a fender bender, consider some of these important steps:
Adrenalin can run high after a car accident, even a fender bender. With so many power fight or flight chemicals churning through one's body, it may be to become angry, accusatory, or hostile. A motorist involved in a car accident should stay as calm as humanly possible. The situation is already stressful for everyone involved, and escalating the situation by becoming aggressive will only exacerbate the situation.
Keep Detailed Records of the Fender Bender
Attempt to record as many details as possible and document the scene of the accident. Camera phones make it easier than ever before to document an accident, so consider taking photos of as much of the scene as possible, including:
- All vehicles involved, including the damage
- The scene, or the general area where the accident occurred
- The license plates of all involved
While a fender bender is, by definition, a minor accident, injuries can still result. It is important to consider seeking medical attention from a doctor after any accident, as there are many injuries that are serious but not noticeable to untrained medical professionals.
Exchange Contact Information with Other Drivers and Passengers
Taking information from all motorists involved in a fender bender is perhaps one of the most critical steps following an accident. One of the biggest temptations after a fender bender is for both parties to decide that the incident was not significant and fail to obtain contact information and insurance information with other drivers or passengers. Fender benders can cause injuries that do not showcase symptoms for a considerable amount of time, and even superficial dents to a vehicle can mask more serious structural or functional damage, such as engine damage.
Remove the Vehicle from the Roadway
If the accident occurred on a busy road, moving the vehicle out of traffic's way might be necessary. Not only is removing the car from the street a safe thing to do, but it is also the law in many states. According to the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Operations, driver removal laws exist in nearly half of the states in the country. Not only do driver removal laws require moving a vehicle after an accident, but also exchanging information and notifying the police.
Even though a fender bender can seem to be a relatively innocuous accident, it still carries certain rights and responsibilities for all motorists involved. If you were in a fender bender and want to understand your legal options, contact the attorneys at Labrum Law for a consultation today.
File a Police Report
Most fender benders do not require the presence of the police. Often, the police would rather not spend precious time and resources responding to minor accidents. However, filing a police report is an essential step after an accident.
A police report makes the incident official and will include a statement of what occurred, as well as critical pieces of objective information, such as:
- The time and date of the accident
- The name and contact information of all drivers involved
- The location of the accident
- A record of all vehicles involved and vehicle damage
While it may be necessary to call a police officer to the scene of an accident, the easiest way to file a police report is to go to a police substation. One can easily file a police report several days after an accident, though it is best not to wait too long to do so.
Seek Medical Evaluation
Even if an auto accident is a minor fender bender, it can still result in physical injury. Going to the hospital emergency room may not be necessary, but going in for a medical evaluation as soon as possible may be a wise thing to do. Some minor injuries that can occur after a fender bender include:
- Joint injuries from seatbelts
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Scrapes and bruising
- Internal injuries and bleeding
Often, the effects of fender bender injuries do not appear until many hours or days after an accident. Post-accident fight-or-flight chemicals can mask any notion of pain for a considerable amount of time following an accident. Any person involved in an accident who suspects they might have suffered injuries should seek medical attention right away.
Contact an Attorney After a Fender Bender
If you were in a fender bender, you may still have the legal right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. If you feel unsure whether or not you have a legal right to compensation following your fender bender, consider visiting with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to learn more about your legal rights and to schedule your consultation today.