What Happens After a Minor Car Accident – AutoAccident.com
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Most drivers have three accidents during their lifetime. Fortunately, not all car crashes are major, yet it still important to know what to do after a minor car accident.
What Is a Minor Car Accident
Generally, a minor car accident is one where no injuries occurred and damage is minimal. If you’ve ever been involved in a fender bender, you know what this means. Your vehicle may be dented, or some paint may be chipped or scratched. The accident commonly happens at a slow speed when you are leaving a parking space, pulling up to the pump at a gas station or backing out of a driveway.
Immediate Things You Need to Do
Get out of the car if it’s safe to do so, and find out if anyone is hurt. You need to get the person’s contact information such as their name, telephone number, driver’s license and registration number. You might ask them to sign off on the information. Take a photo of the damage, and try to get a picture of how the motor vehicles are positioned. It’s difficult to say who was at fault in some cases. The pictures may help.
Reporting a Minor Car Accident
According to the DMV guidelines in California, you have to report a car accident to them within 10 days by filling out an SR-1 form if the accident involved property damage over $1,000 or if injuries or a death occurred. If you are on a public road, or a private one for that matter, you must also report the car accident to the authorities within 24 hours if there were injuries or fatalities. You also need to inform your insurance company. Each company has a different timeline, but usually it’s better to do it as soon as possible.
Property Damage May Escalate
Let’s say you and the other driver mutually agreed that the damage was minor or less than $1,000 and no one was injured, making it unnecessary to call the police or report it to the DMV. Both drivers may decide it would be better to pay for the damages out of pocket rather than incur an increase in insurance premiums. At the time the fender bender occurred, a scratch or a dent may seem like minor damage. That isn’t always the case. In some instances, repairing a dent may mean replacing an entire panel or more. This could escalate the price of repairs, and your insurance company may balk at covering the cost since you did not report it. If you don’t report an accident to the DMV when damages are $1,000 or more, your license could be suspended.
Injuries May Change
Not all injuries are obvious in the moments after a car accident, particularly when the adrenaline is flowing. For example, a small bump on the head in an older person could result in a subdural hematoma, a type of traumatic brain injury. In fact, it can take up to 30 days for symptoms to show. Cervical strain is another type of injury that typically displays symptoms within 24-48 hours, but this may take up to three days.
When this happens, the accident has an entirely different profile. Injury was involved, and with untreated subdural hematoma, death can occur. Not reporting the accident may mean you face a big financial burden to cover medical expenses and lost wages without insurance coverage aside from other legal entanglements.
Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, you have questions that need to be answered. Calling an experienced car accident lawyer can help. If you were not at fault in the accident, you may be able to file a claim without worry that your insurance premium will go up. In some cases, you will not have to pay a deductible. An attorney is also adept at proving fault.
Fresno Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Even what can be considered minor motor vehicle accidents can cause injuries, and those injuries might not appear until days later. If you or your family member has suffered an injury, give me a call at (559) 377-7676 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advise.
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