What Should You Do After a Minor Car Accident?
Thousands of American drivers experience car accidents each year, and some of these accidents are very minor, low-speed collisions that may occur when a driver backs out of a driveway or parking space in a parking lot. These accidents may not cause severe injuries or significant property damage, but drivers should still know how to handle these situations safely and legally.
Is It Necessary to Call the Police After a Minor Accident?
Most state laws require drivers to report any car accident that causes bodily injury, death, or property damage over a certain amount. If there is any room to doubt whether you need to call the police to report an accident, err on the side of caution and report it. Having a police record of the incident will help you with a future lawsuit or insurance claim.
Is a Lawyer Necessary?
If fault for your minor accident is perfectly clear and the other driver does not dispute fault, you may not need an attorney to help you handle your minor car accident. However, if there is any question as to liability, or your damages are unclear, speaking with a car collision attorney can help you determine your best options for legal recovery.
Is It Possible to Win a Settlement for a Minor Car Accident?
A minor car accident may only cause very minor injuries and/or minimal damage to your vehicle, and it is likely that your auto insurance or the other driver’s insurance will cover these damages. You could secure a settlement from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company depending on how the accident occurred and who caused it.
A minor car accident could potentially lead to a lawsuit. For example, if another driver hits your car at low speed but refuses to pay for the damages or assume liability, you may need to take legal action to compel him or her to pay for your damages.
Steps to Take After a Minor Car Accident
If you have a car accident at low speed, in a parking lot, or on a residential street with a low speed limit, you should know what to do to ensure you receive compensation for any resulting damages.
Check for Injuries
First, make sure you are unhurt and check on your passengers. Next, check on the other driver involved and see if he or she is ok. Once you are sure no serious injuries have occurred, call the police to report the accident if necessary and then try to take photos of the accident scene before you move your vehicle, as long as you are not blocking traffic. If you need to move out of the way, you should still take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any injuries you sustained from the crash.
Exchange your information with the other driver. If the other driver is clearly at fault, obtain his or her contact information and insurance details. You will need to provide the other driver with your information if you caused the accident. If you notified the police about the accident, wait for them to arrive and investigate the scene. They will question you, the other driver, and any witnesses who saw the accident. Answer their questions honestly and concisely, but do not say anything they may misconstrue as an admission of fault.
Seek Medical Attention
Once the police allow you to leave, you should seek medical attention even if you think you only suffered minor injuries. Seeking prompt care not only helps avoid the possibility of an unseen injury worsening but will also reflect positively upon a future insurance claim or lawsuit.
Ultimately, a minor car accident may be relatively easy to resolve with an insurance claim, but that is assuming the at-fault driver assumes liability appropriately. If there is any question about liability, if the other driver disputes his or her responsibility, or if you suffered significant injuries in Illinois, speak with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. The team at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates offers free consultations; contact us today.